Will Avaya/Nortel prove to be Cisco worthy?

When I look at this deal between Avaya and Nortel's Enterprise unitI see some potential for channel partners.

Sure thepresident of the Nortel Distributor Alliance Council RickDawybida endorsed the US$900 million deal saying that both Nortel andAvayachannel partners will have opportunities to grow theirbusiness as the move to unified communications accelerates and the needfor advanced services to design, deploy and manage such solutionsexpand.

But he pretty much has to say that. Even though NortelDistributor Alliance Council is an independent body it does containplenty of Nortel members. This council wants to protect thosebusinesses and not create an uproar of dissention.

The questionI have is can this newly formed partnership provide quality competitionto Cisco Systemsin the market place? And, this new arrangement can for surefrom a technology perspective. Where I see them struggling is in thechannel partner community.

Channel partners are not cavalierwith their vendor partnerships and alliances. They look for solid,sustainable and reliable vendors to deal with.

So during theintegration period for Avaya they need to address this portion of itsbusiness moving forward. If I was an Avaya partner account manager Iwould be making calls today to channel partners ensuring that thefuture is bright with Avaya/Nortel. And, I would keep calling them andupdating partners on the combined company's progress and I would tellthem what a viable, competitive option it is to Cisco.

Cisco haswon over most of the hearts and minds of the channel, but with Avaya'sacquisition of Nortel they now have a big chance to change thosemindsets and position themselves as a real alternative to the San Jose,Calif.-based networking giant in the channel.

Two quick hitsbefore I go. Jeff Cates is leaving HP Canada andjoining his former co-worker Derek Smith at Apple Canada.CDN wishes Jeff the very best.

And, Pat Gelsinger, one of the faces of Intel aroundthe world will be leaving the company after 30 years. Gelsinger hasaccepted a job at EMC to be that company's president and COOof its information infrastructure product portfolio.

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