The news that Hewlett Packard has just slapped down $2.7 billion to acquire 3Com looks like a move that will be good for the two firms. Both companies' respective products will dovetail nicely to turn HP into what could easily be described as an IT polymath—pretty damn good at everything.
Cisco boss John Chambers, who claimed that he saw Hewlett-Packard as an enemy back in the summer, won't be too chuffed with the news that rival boss Mark Hurd has hooked up with the network maker 3Com. It's all a bit like a game of musical chairs on the tech behemoth front lately. Let's have a look-see:
HP is sticking it to Cisco on the networking front by buying 3Com, which complements its ProCurve networking equipment and could finally take it into the (networking) Clouds. Cisco is busy moving into the systems market, HP's turf, whilst trying to expand its footprint in the teleconferencing world. Meanwhile, back in Romanel-sur-Morges, Switzerland, Logitech is probably eating a plate of delicious Emmenthal, and feeling pretty damn pleased with its most recent, relatively cheap, acquisition of LifeSize.
This comes towards the end of a fairly torrid week for Cisco. On Monday it announced a raft of new products, but late Tuesday night news came out that its $3 million offer for video-conferencing giant Tandberg has been given the bum rush by the Norwegian company's shareholders. Meanwhile LifeSize, another conferencing systems company that Cisco had been eyeing, plighted its troth to peripherals firm Logitech instead.
HP's Hurd has already said that the eventual victor of this bloody scrap will have to be a good all-rounder; that is to say be able to offer services alongside hardware and software. No room for hobbyists, was his take on it, I believe. One other thing to remember is that 3Com has a huge presence in China, where it numbers China Mobile, China Telecom and PetroChina amongst its clients.
When we look back to November 20009, are we going to realize that this was the week that the Internet's backbone had a chiropractic adjustment?