Enterprise competition heating up between Cisco and Juniper

Firm says rival's Q4 business on track or better

Juniper's enterprise business is in for a positive quarter, according to Oppenheimer & Co. In 25 interviews with Juniper channel partners, Oppenheimer says Juniper's fourth quarter enterprise sales are in line or slightly better due to improved spending and closure of some large deals before year's end. 

Most of those interviewed by the firm expect sequential growth from Q4 into Q1 2010. But Oppenheimer itself is lowering its own 2010 outlook for Juniper based on a cautious outlook for carrier spending in the first half of the new year. In a bulletin authored by analyst Ittai Kidron: 

Similar to 2009, we believe 2010 carrier spending will be more 2H weighted as the economy still struggles. Our 2010 Juniper routing estimates don't reflect share gains.

But Oppenheimer does expect ~8% year-over-year core and edge routing growth for Juniper. 

Back to enterprise, Kidron expects Juniper's EX LAN switching line to "take a pause" in the first quarter but ramp in the second half of the year. Traction for the switches has steadily improved, Kidron notes, adding that Oppenheimer's identified a number of channels planning to add the EX line in the seocnd half of 2010.

That said, EX's near-term pipeline appears mixed.

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