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John Lalley, Spalding Communications Group, a Towson, Md.-based solution provider and longtime 3Com VAR, expressed disappointment on HP’s handling of the 3Com portfolio.
"HP has handled the acquisition and transition of 3Com and its products very poorly," Lalley said. "As a voice dealer, I was excited about gaining the strength of HP in support of our products and customers. However, to date, we have experienced nothing but disorganization, mind-boggling bureaucracy, slow product turnaround and lack of communication."
Banic said HP technology partners Avaya and Microsoft offer stronger UC and collaboration products and urged VCX partners to shift to those product lines.
"VCX is an IP telephony solution [while] the solution offering we have with Microsoft is a much richer UC and collaboration offering," Banic said. "That's why we look at it that way: the feature functionality difference."
HP's decision to push VCX into maintenance mode is a result "of us taking a strategic look at what is the best way to have a complete, rich portfolio in the market around UC and collaboration."
"We're trying to be very graceful about making the shift," Banic added. "After we made the acquisition of 3Com, we began more strategic-level conversations with a broader set of customers. That actually exposed us to make the right investment shifts. It may be that the partners you are hearing feedback from haven't been involved in those types of situations. We're just being responsive."
Key to the VCX voice product family is the VCX Connect IP PBX MIM, an all-in-one SMB IP telephony and messaging solution that is being deployed in SMB accounts because of its proven track record, scalable architecture and robust product functionality compared to higher-priced offerings. The product runs on OAPS blade fitted into HP-A-MSR30 Series Router with embedded PSTN gateway, wireless, WAN and LAN modules. The module and the router have traditionally been bundled for sale with necessary software licenses, and the base VCX Connect offer includes 25 phones and 25 mailbox licenses.
The extended VCX portfolio includes the VCX Connect 100, targeted at customers with 100 to 600 users, while the VCX Connect 200 IP-PBX system is targeted at customers with 600 uses to 3,000 users. The product family can be outfitted for enterprise-level deployments, too, numbering 7,500 users or devices all the way up to 60,000 users by deploying the VCX V7005 Classic, V7205 Classic, V7005 Expand and V7205 Expand systems, which have 2- and 3-server configurations.
Version 9.5 of the VCX software became available in October 2010 and included support for VCX running on HP servers, as well as tweaks to various VCX capabilities such as IP messaging, and other functions such as file transfer and forward typing to the VCX Desktop Communicator softphone. The next update, version 9.8, is due in the first half of 2011, according to HP and will be available as a free download to existing VCX customers.
HP declined to provide details on what will be in version 9.8, but Banic described forthcoming software updates to VCX as being more about upkeep than product expansion.