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Cisco's top 10 rivals

Jim Duffy | Oct. 13, 2010
Cisco battling Juniper, IBM, HP and more across the enterprise network market

Cisco vs. HP

With a 72% share of the $16 billion market in 2009, Cisco is dominant in Ethernet switching. It would be hard to pinpoint a rival in a market where Cisco is essentially unrivaled. Yet HP is most active and vocal in taking on Cisco in enterprise switching. At 10% share, HP is the No. 2 vendor, thanks in large part to its $2.7 billion acquisition of 3Com earlier this year.

It verbally challenges Cisco every opportunity it gets at trade shows and conferences. Despite its dominant lead, Cisco is not standing pat. The company continues to unveil new platforms and enhance existing ones, all optimized for three key strategic markets: video, virtualization and collaboration.

Former partners HP and Cisco are also becoming bitter data center rivals. HP may have drawn first blood by pledging to revive its ProCurve networking division after Mark Hurd became CEO in 2007. Then Cisco invaded HP's, and IBM's, traditional turf by coming out with its own blade and rack mount data center servers. HP responded by acquiring 3Com to boost its switch market share and overall networking portfolio, and then bashing Cisco at every public opportunity. Finally, Cisco vanquished HP as a reseller; and HP banished Cisco from its data centers.

Cisco vs. Aruba

Similar to switching, Cisco has a close-to-dominant position in wireless LANs with a 58% share of the $1.6 billion market in 2009. Aruba's next with 9%. Though that gap is sizeable, Aruba gives Cisco all it can handle in North America sales, where it had a higher percentage penetration in the U.S. than Cisco had in the second quarter of this year. Aruba is especially strong in higher education, healthcare and other enterprise verticals, and is outpacing Cisco in 802.11n penetration, according to Dell'Oro Group. And over the last four quarters, Aruba's market share has grown from 8.7% to 11.9% while Cisco's has declined from 60.7% to 54.8%. Not that Aruba is the sole beneficiary of that decline but it undoubtedly played a leading role.

But Cisco recently came out with an "entry level" 802.11n access point that could help boost its share of that specific market. And it took pains to take the pain out of 11n deployments.

Meanwhile Aruba's been lining up top-shelf OEM partners, like Dell; and expanding into new markets through acquisition.

Cisco vs. Polycom


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