3Com banks on open-source strategy

Networking giant plans to close the gap on Cisco with an open services networking platform that allows customers to add applications on top

Networking giant 3Com is banking on an open-source strategy to differentiate itself from the competition.

Speaking at a media briefing in Malaysia on Tuesday, Peter Chai, vice president and general manager of 3Com Asia-Pacific, said the company's open services networking (OSN) platform will enable its customers to create and build relevant applications on top of its hardware offerings. The OSN infrastructure runs on Linux.

Chai explained: "Developers [can] build third-party applications, or customers [can] develop their own applications to work on top of our products. This is our unique selling point."

According to the executive, the US-based networking gear maker is number two in the global market, behind current leader Cisco.

Despite this, Chai said 3Com is poised to further grow its market share by leveraging the OSN strategy to differentiate the company from its competitors.

"It's our intention to close the gap on our competitor as fast as we can — customer by customer, vertical by vertical — and it's our belief that our OSN strategy will be a key pillar of success for 3Com going forward," he said.

Orcun Tezel, technical director for 3Com Asia-Pacific, noted that, in today's competitive world, no single vendor can provide the best of everything on a single platform.

"Our OSN model enables our customers to choose the best-of-breed technology and embed it into the system as they see fit," Tezel said. He added that 83 software partners have built applications on top of 3Com's products, compared to just seven a year ago.

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.