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For Cisco and Tandberg channel observers, the pervading feeling on a combined Cisco-Tandberg channel is one of cautious optimism.
"This is a good thing for the industry. Let's start there," said Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. "For the average Tandberg reseller, the road will have been dozed and paved for them to get to more C-level executives. The Cisco name and reputation will open doors."
Kari Yent, vice president of strategic alliances for Force 3, a Crofton, Md.-based solution provider, said that when she attended a recent Tandberg partner conference, all people wanted was details, details, details.
"I wouldn't say I have concerns as much as I have a desire for the details, so that we can get going building our collaboration practice," Yent said. "The Cisco TelePresence solution is very high-end, and with Tandberg, it gives us a much broader portfolio. We were and are a Tandberg partner. Before, there'd also been some competition between Cisco and Tandberg and I'm looking forward to having a unified front."
Cisco and Tandberg VARs interviewed for this story had as many opinions as they do names, but there's a consensus on a few things: VARs and integrators that already sell both Cisco and Tandberg products will have a far easier time with the transition than those who don't, and margin pressure on Tandberg videoconferencing gear, already a sore spot for many Tandberg resellers, will inevitably get worse.
Still, excitement is first and foremost.
"We've been a Tandberg partner for several years, so we're very excited," said Rus Healy, CTO of Annese & Associates, a Herkimer, NY-based solution provider. "There's been a large gap in Cisco's video offering and we think their message is right but their strategy has been weak. But what they've done now, with TelePresence, is start at the top end and work their way down to the desktop. Cisco has been great at creating market awareness."
"I don't think it'll be disruptive at all. In the long run, it'll enhance our standing," said Brian Trampler, senior product manager of strategic video solutions at Intercall, itself a video conference software and collaboration vendor but also a Cisco Gold partner. "What we've shown with Tandberg is that we're able to very quickly work with them to get in front of customers and understand the value proposition of the Tandberg solution. Given Cisco's aggressiveness of sales, I doubt they'll be reluctant to bar our way to continue working."