Avaya promises near-term support for Nortel gear

Avaya-Nortel combined company will issue a road map soon for merging its product lines

Nortel enterprise customers will be able to buy the company's current line of products for 12 to 18 months after Avaya officially takes ownership of Nortel's enterprise division that it won at auction for $900 million.

Slideshow: The rise and fall of Nortel   

After that period, Avaya says it will have a migration path laid out that customers can follow to bring themselves into Avaya's official product line. Support for Nortel gear will continue throughout that transition, an Avaya spokesperson says.

Because the two companies' products overlap, some analysts think the deal was more about customers than it was technology.

Task forces from both companies will be tapped to figure out what products make the most sense to keep and which ones need to be merged.

Regardless of the migration path, Avaya says it will honor three- to five-year product support for all customers.

The company says the product road map for the expanded Avaya will be ready 30 days after the deal is officially closed.

Avaya says it will honor all Nortel's service contracts including those that Verizon claimed in a legal filing would be canceled. The contracts in question extended to Verizon customers through its services business.

Verizon sought last week to get Avaya removed from the auction for Nortel's enterprise division. The last-minute appeal claimed Avaya intended to toss out the contracts and that would result in national security issues because some of the gear was supplied to critical governmental agencies. "We intend to fulfill the contract that is the subject of their filing. The customers will receive service," an Avaya spokesperson says.

Long term Avaya says it will rely on its Aura Session Manager platform to unify customers' Session Initiation Protocol-based communications gear into a single system. Aura already supports Nortel gear as well as products from major VoIP vendors Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Nortel, ShoreTel and Siemens.

Because Avaya Aura is compatible with Nortel's open architecture, customers will be able to build multi-vendor environments without requiring a swap-out to all-Avaya equipment.

As for R&D, Avaya says the Nortel and Avaya resources are complementary enough to help the combined company bring new products to market more quickly.

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