Cisco Attacks Juniper Over Edge Router Market Share


Cisco on Monday went on the offensive against networking rival Juniper Networks, with Cisco's top sales executive publicly bashing Juniper and Cisco going live with a Web site calling out alleged Juniper promises that Cisco says have gone unfulfilled for customers.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, said Juniper is "leaving customers and partners disappointed" when it comes to edge routers.

"We think we need to be a little bit more aggressive in calling out missed promises and expectations," Lloyd told the newspaper.

In another apparent stab at the competition, Cisco launched a web site that shows various digital counters -- listing years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds -- that purport to show the time elapsed since Juniper made certain updates and announcements to its edge routing portfolio without delivering those updates to customers.

"Networks matter now more than ever, and so does your choice of networking partner," reads a tagline on the web site, near a link to a white paper detailing competitive differences between the two companies.

The Cisco attack comes the same day that both Cisco and Juniper made announcements in their edge routing portfolios, and also a day before Cisco's annual financial analysts' conference in San Jose, Calif., where Cisco is expected to offer strategy updates related to its ongoing corporate restructuring.

Public displays of competitive sabre-rattling -- especially those that call competitors out explicitly by name -- are rare for Cisco. A source inside Cisco previously told CRN that the company is focusing on its competitive image in response to stepped-up attacks from networking challengers like Hewlett Packard.

Cisco's new products released Monday are the Cisco ASR 901 cell site router for 2G, 3G and 4G mobile cell sites; the ASR 903 unified Ethernet access router for business, residential and mobile applications; and the ASR 9001 small edge router, a smaller version of Cisco's ASR 9000 edge router.

Juniper, meanwhile, said it had expanded capacity of its MX 3D universal edge routers to 3.8 Terabits per second.

Both moves come as competition in the edge router space intensifies, with Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei both challenging Cisco and Juniper in the space.

Lloyd insisted to the Journal that Cisco is maintaining market leadership while Juniper is losing share. According to Infonetics Research, Cisco in the second quarter of 2011 had a 32 percent market share for edge routers, while Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent both had about 17 percent and Huawei had 13 percent.

"We're not going to comment on a competitor's publicity stunt," said David Shane, vice president, global corporate communications at Juniper, in a statement e-mailed to CRN. "Customers tell us they want an alternative to the legacy approach and we're focusing on delivering innovation for them. It appears as if Cisco has once again lost focus."