3Com Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. were at press time working out the final details on a deal for EDS to resell 3Com enterprise hardware products as part of the integration firm’s services offerings.
With 3Com on EDS’s menu, corporations could tap the second-largest IT integrator (behind IBM Global Services) to install 3Com switches, routers and voice-over-IP equipment – and that includes gear from 3Com’s joint venture with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. IBM Global Services offers Cisco Systems Inc. but not 3Com products.
Sources close to the deal say it is in the works, but spokespeople for 3Com and EDS would not discuss it.
Other enterprise vendors EDS partners with include Cisco, Dell Inc., Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems and Xerox Corp. Adding 3Com to its product mix might give users interested in EDS’s services a less-expensive option for network equipment, observers say.
“It would be good for 3Com to ally itself with a legitimate large-enterprise reseller,” says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with The Yankee Group. “Even if 3Com is billed as the de facto alternative (among EDS’s service offerings), it still helps 3Com. I could see a situation where Cisco is sold as a high-end offering and 3Com is positioned as a more-value play.”
3Com’s bid to attract large enterprise customers began in March when it announced plans to form a joint venture with Huawei, China’s largest maker of enterprise and carrier Ethernet switches and IP routers. Since then, the company has launched its Switch 7700, a chassis-based Layer 3 core LAN switch, and the Router 5000 series of aggregation routers. These boxes are targeted at Cisco’s Catalyst switches and 2600/3700 series routers. 3Com has said that its joint venture with Huawei lets it offer routers and switches competitive with Cisco and Nortel, but priced about 10 per cent to 20 per cent less.