HP: We Don’t Need No Stinking 3Com

by Dave Michels

The news sparking this post is the HP has put 3Com’s VCX out to pasture. It had already done so with the NBX, so once again – 3Com is dead.

3Com was a highly innovative company that could never turn its ideas into profitable business models. It blew it with Ethernet cards, modems, Palm OS, and the NBX. A great company to figure out what’s going to be hot – pick a competitor and buy their stock.

3Com killed the NBX a few times. At one point the company was going to standardize on Asterisk. I don’t remember all the details, it went to China and back to HP only to be killed again.

I always thought HP should be in telecom – they made several false starts, but were about as good at 3Com when it came to UC business models. Halo was cutting edge but was neglected and sold to Polycom for a song. At one point I thought HP and Avaya might merge. That would have been interesting. But when Avaya bought Nortel’s assets that included network gear (Bay Networks, Wellfleet, Synoptics). It is impressive technology and Avaya intends to grow that market share. There went that marriage. 

According to CRN, HP is encouraging its 3Com dealers to check out Microsoft for 250+ users and for smaller opportunities to check out Aastra or ShoreTel. HP and Microsoft have grown accustomed to each others” company. One of the HP switches (ZL module) can be turned into a Lync SBA and of course HP is the fourth company to offer Lync phones (Snom, Polycom, Aastra and HP) (Polycom was first, but I get the impression MS now views Snom as the golden child).

Aastra offers its MX-ONE for the HP ZL switch module too. ShoreTel and HP have a relationship that allows HP to resell ShoreTel Mobility (Agito) with its FMC solutions.

No mention of Mitel which is somewhat odd because HP and Mitel enjoyed a tight partnership for years. In fact, the HP website still says “The combination of best-in-class enterprise switching products from HP with leading edge IP telephony products from Mitel Networks, will provide end-to-end data and telephony solutions over a single, simple infrastructure…” But I see Mitel removed HP from its partner page (it was there last year).

According to HP, they also like Avaya and Cisco. The CRN article says “HP also partners with Avaya, though primarily for its direct and enterprise services engagements… HP is also fine with solutions using other vendors’ products that can interoperate with HP’s, including Cisco.”

When this decade is over, expect articles about HP’s Lost Decade.