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Cisco Ferrari or Nortel lawn mower, which one will customers choose to ride?

By Brad Reese on Mon, 03/10/08 - 3:12am.

Phil Edholm and Family

Phil Edholm - Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Strategy and Architecture for Nortel Enterprise Solutions, blogged in response to an earlier Network World Cisco blog comment regarding Nortel's reliance on merchant silicon vendors:

"Cisco is well known for a profound inability to innovate internally and a penchant for acquisition as well as a penchant for trying to present attempts at catch-up as innovation."

"The fact that Cisco ships only 37% of the ports yet gets 73% of the revenue in the campus switching market is testament that their solutions are overly complex, pricey and focused to the last evolution."

Gartner Report:
Ethernet Switches: Enterprise Vendor Revenue and Port Shipments, Total Market, Worldwide, 3Q07

"Perhaps it is time for Cisco customers to demand multivendor solutions with integration of merchant silicon and thus push Cisco to either change their business/technology model or leave the data market if they cannot migrate with the obvious evolution of the market."

View Phil's blog response to this Network World story.

Douglas GourlayIn a stinging rebuke to Phil and his Nortel blog entry, Cisco Data Center Marketing Manager - Douglas Gourlay blogged:

"Recently there was a quick write-up by one of my favorite competitors in the switching market arguing against my assertion that merchant silicon is essentially not a good thing in the switching space. Let me clarify..."

"Maybe an analogy will help. If a switch is like a car then the switching silicon would be most analogous to the engine and/or transmission. i.e. the core of the car and a major point of competitive advantage and differentiation. Do major automobile manufacturers outsource engine design and development to other firms? Of course not, they design and build their engines. Do manufacturers of more consumer goods like lawn mowers outsource their engines? Absolutely, they go to specialized engine manufacturers because the core value of what they offer is either a certain price point, or the value is not tied to the engine."

"So the question then - is do you want to ride to work or school in a car, or on a lawnmower? I know one would get me laughed at if I was in school, the other... not so much :)"

"Applying it back to switching, I'd rather control my own destiny and align the core value creation in the silicon with the hardware and then with the software and continue to drive innovation at every tier and not saddle up on my Toro in my enterprise. (no offense to the manufacturer of lawn mowers, I am a good customer of yours too :)"

View Doug's blog response to this Network World story.

Ferrari or Toro, which one do YOU believe customers will choose to ride?

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