3Com's a bad apple: TippingPoint

The 3Com brand name is in bad shape in Australia, admits a senior executive at TippingPoint, a division of 3Com.

Like a son ashamed of his father, TippingPoint is in the same boat with its beleaguered parent, 3Com.

Once a Silicon Valley stalwart and second-largest networking company in the world, 3Com has plunged into a financial abyss over the years.

Different tactics have been employed in an effort to regain its footing. In 2000, the division which made Palm devices was spun-off. Two years ago, 3Com paid more than US$400 million for security company TippingPoint Technologies, which specialises in intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

Greg Fitzgerald, TippingPoint vice president for marketing and inside sales, realises it won't be easy to get the monkey off its back and admitted the 3Com brand was in "trouble" in many countries, including Australia.

"The 3Com brand name is in bad shape in Australia," Fitzgerald told reporters at the NetEvents conference in Singapore.

TippingPoint acknowledges that 3Com is its Achilles heel. "Our distributors go out of their way not to mention 3Com when meeting clients," he added.

However, keeping mum seems to be a good formula -- the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL), Collins Foods Group, Vectra and the Tasmanian Parliament rank amongst TippingPoint's customers.

In Asia-Pacific, the focus next fiscal year will be on Singapore, Australia, India and Korea, Fitzgerald said.

"We're going to ramp up marketing for intrusion prevention ... we recognise we have 'the' most expensive product in the [IPS] market but we back that up with value," he added.

Fran Foo travelled to Singapore as a guest of NetEvents.

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