Cisco's largesse an opening for Nortel

The fact that Cisco plays in so many markets means they can't specialize in one. And the one they may not be able to specialize in is enterprise switching and routing infrastructure for unified communications, according to Nortel's enterprise chief.

In an interview at this week's Interop conference, Nortel Enterprise Solutions President Joel Hackney suggested that his company could now be viewed as a nimble, "pure play" start-up compared to Cisco and HP because Cisco is stretched so broadly and HP is fixated on the data center. Specifically, Hackney sees Nortel as a prime contender to win business on student body left while every other vendor heads student body right -- which, right now, is in the converged data center.

Even more specifically, Hackney believes Nortel can be a prime candidate to take business building infrastructure for unified communications deployments given Nortel's deep and rich heritage in voice communications. But wait, didn't UC partner Microsoft just align itself with rival HP to do the same thing it was doing with Nortel, while Nortel grapples with Chapter 11?

Never mind all that, Hackney says. Microsoft and Nortel are already 3 years deep into their four year UC marriage and have more than 1,000 customers. HP can never attain the voice smarts that Nortel has -- nor can Nortel approach the IT infrastructure bulk of HP. Microsoft is just covering all of its bases.

Or its backside, as Nortel restructures under Chapter 11 and looks to divest itself of key businesses to raise cash.

Which distraction would you rather have: Cisco's? or Nortel's...

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