3Com chooses an open strategy

Networking equipment maker bets on an open services infrastructure to pry itself ahead of the competition, including current market leader Cisco.

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

Speaking at a media briefing here 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 Massachusetts, U.S.-based networking gear maker is the No. 2 in the global market behind current leader Cisco Systems.

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.

Aiming for growth in Malaysia
Meanwhile, 3Com is confident it can achieve a strong revenue growth in Malaysia, particularly after the completion of its integration with H3C Technologies. In March, 3Com acquired the remaining 49 percent of H3C Technologies, a joint venture with Chinese equipment maker Huawei Technologies.

Marcus Lai, 3Com's country manager for Malaysia, said: "3Com has plans to grow its revenue in the double-digit range by the next financial year, ending June 2008." Lai, however, declined to reveal any specific details.

He said the company plans to achieve this growth by targeting the public sector and government-linked companies, as well as the commercial sector.

Lai added that the emergence of Malaysia's latest spate of infrastructure development projects, such as the Iskandar Development Region in Johor Bahru and the Northern Corridor Economic Region brings new revenue opportunities for 3Com.

"We are confident of achieving our targets as we have expanded our team to support our customers," he said. "We also have the backing of H3C and our unified sales and support organization, as well as our research and development arm in China."

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.