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Cisco Tandberg marriage to boost video market

Alex Scroxton

Cisco and Tandberg have moved to reassure their respective channels that last week's $3bn acquisition of the Norwegian video specialist will be a positive move.

In a corporate video Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen and Cisco CEO John Chambers stressed their commitment to resellers but answered few questions.

The duo urged dealers to focus on maintaining 'business as usual' while the deal completes, while Chambers spoke of a game-changing opportunity for both channels.

Halvorsen added: "Discussions have addressed what we can do for our partner group, and that ranges [across] the whole spectrum from training to product."

Canalys analyst Alastair Edwards said the move was a clever strategy on Cisco's part.

"It's a big Trojan horse for Cisco because it pushes their core interests and drives the need for network upgrades," he said.

"While Cisco has a competitive offering at the high-end with Telepresence, and at the low-end with Linksys and Flip, it's missing the right products in the midmarket," he continued.

Tandberg partners have largely welcomed the deal, as Terry Dwyer, CEO at Tandberg partner mvision, explained.

"From what I understand this is a growth acquisition; it's about pumping money into R&D and expanding the business," he said. "I can only assume they mean to make video-conferencing ubiquitous, which can only be a good thing."

"Tandberg has always been known for reliable, open standards. I hope Cisco don't change a thing," he added.

Dwyer, who hinted that he would be trying to attain Cisco Gold status himself, added that added that one consequence of the acquisition could be an increase in consolidation in the channel as Cisco partners scramble to acquire Tandberg dealers' midmarket capability.

Tandberg rival Polycom, which now stands as pretty much the only big-name independent video provider, also stands to benefit, according to EMEA solutions marketing director Ray McGroarty.

"It shows that large organisations are seeing video collaboration as a key technology, and reassures us that our positioning is valid," he said.

McGroarty added: "What has happened before is that buyers assess these technologies through people like Cisco, then become aware of other players in the marketplace."


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