When thinking about the ramifications of Avaya selling off its networking business, take the long view.
The Green Bay Packers, led by struggling quarterback Aaron Rodgers, started off the 2014 season 1-2. The always-calm Rodgers told the panicked Packers' fans to R-E-L-A-X, and the team ended up finishing 12-4 -- winning its division but losing in the NFC title game to the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks.
Rodgers' message to fans not to panic so early in a long season resonates with me as I think about the news coming out of Avaya yesterday regarding the sale of the data networking business.
We're obviously very early in Avaya's bankruptcy cycle, with the Chapter 11 filing coming about six weeks ago. Another piece of the puzzle fell into place last night, when the company announced that Extreme Networks had offered to buy Avaya Networking for $100 million. I see no need for Avaya customers or channel partners to panic; making rash decisions so early in a prolonged cycle can end up bad, so take a breath and see what happens.
The network isn't going to stop running because the paint changes from red to purple. In fact, the shift of assets from Avaya to Extreme is likely to be a good thing for customers. I've had extensive conversations with both Extreme and Avaya about this, and neither side wants to upset the customer base.
Eye on the core
Post acquisition, Avaya will be able to focus more on its core, which is unified communications and contact center. However, Avaya intends to become an Extreme reseller to ensure continuity for its UC and networking customers after the transaction is complete. Between then and now, Avaya will continue to sell the entire portfolio of networking products, and doesn't expect an impact on any bid, quote, or deployment. Extreme wants to buy Avaya Networking for its technology, so that's not going to go away. That means customers shouldn't hold back their businesses by putting the brakes on a network upgrade plans.
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