The story in channel-based network security hardware sales can be summed up in one word: flat. Cisco Systems Inc. held on to its roughly 35 percent share of the distribution market for the second half of 2007. It lost 0.1 percent market share, the lowest among the top five vendors.
Cisco, WatchGuard Technologies Inc. and 3Com Corp. dropped less than 1 percent in share, with SonicWall Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. posting more significant drops. Add up the distribution share losses by the top five vendors, and you wind up with an almost 5 percent chunk of channel market ceded to smaller and up-and-coming rivals.
That's not a huge number, but it's a trend that solution providers like Matt Briese think they know why is happening.
"I've been a pretty loyal 3Com and WatchGuard customer—3Com for 15 years and WatchGuard for eight. When they were smaller, you got better service from them," said Briese, owner of Rochester, Minn.-based Briese Computer Services, adding that he's been exploring alternative options of late."