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Nortel Enterprise channel on notice

Alex Scroxton


The Nortel enterprise channel is now officially living on borrowed time after Avaya announced that resellers selling Nortel gear will be inducted into its Avaya Connect channel from 1 March 2010.


It is understood that Nortel partners will continue to buy through the failing vendor's current distributors after that date, although there is considerable overlap between the two distribution channels; both use Azlan and Westcon, among others.There are no plans to provide alternative arrangements.


"Nortel partners can sign with us today, and many already have," said Avaya worldwide channels vice president Jeremy Butt, speaking in Prague at the vendor's annual partner event.


"As bad as our programme was, theirs was worse," he added.


He pledged a swift integration into the Connect channel programme, which was launched yesterday and will be made available to Avaya dealers from February, adding that Nortel partners would "be held to exactly the same standards".


Avaya senior vice president of sales and president of field operations Todd Abbott begged resellers to stop asking him about roadmaps, as Avaya is legally prevented from discussing them.


However, it looks likely that Avaya's Aura platform will form a key part of the unified strategy post-integration, and Abbott added that any product declared at end-of-life after March will continue to ship for 12 to 18 months and be supported until at least 2013.


The Nortel acquisition, which is set to cost Avaya over $1bn when all the loose ends are tied up, is proceeding as planned and looks set to close before Christmas.


"The Nortel assets will be restructured before we take ownership and we expect them to be profitably accretive within one to two quarters," said Abbott.


"We will be back to executing effectively in a short period; don't believe our rival [Cisco] when it says this will bankrupt us."


Around 5,000 Nortel employees are set to join Avaya and job offers will be made to them by the end of next week, said Abbott.


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