For Ruckus Wireless partners wondering what the company's future looks like, Arris CEO Bruce McClelland has an answer. "It will look more like it did as Ruckus."
Ruckus Wireless was acquired by Brocade Communications Systems in May for $1.2 billion. In November, semiconductor maker Broadcom struck a deal to buy Brocade for $5.9 billion – but immediately signaled its intention to divest the company's IP networking business, including Ruckus. That put Ruckus, a channel favorite, in a sort of limbo.
This week Arris International, a major networking equipment manufacturer, took a significant step toward ending that limbo by announcing a deal to buy Ruckus Wireless and Brocade's ICX Switch product line for $800 million.
The Arris acquisition of Ruckus is set to be completed at the same time Broadcom executes its buyout of Brocade – sometime in Broadcom's third fiscal quarter, ending July 31. It might be several months or more before some questions about the acquisition and Ruckus' future are answered.
But Arris CEO McClelland and Ruckus COO Dan Rabinovitsj, in separate interviews with CRN, said this week's announcement should end the uncertainty that has ruffled the Ruckus partner community since the Broadcom–Brocade deal was disclosed.
"We understand how important channel relationships are in this business and that we have to invest in it, we have to nurture it, and we have to make it an extension of our business," McClelland said.
Details are still scarce. But the plan is to operate Ruckus Wireless and the Brocade ICX Switch product line as a "dedicated business unit" operating relatively independently within Arris and focusing on enterprise wireless networking and wired switching implementations.
Arris "is really setting us up to be a standalone business," Rabinovitsj said. "This is exactly what we wanted for an outcome. This just takes all the concerns off the table."
Ruckus channel partners complained that the uncertainty created by Broadcom's announcement made potential customers skittish and halted some sales deals in their tracks. Some partners said they were holding off making additional investments in Ruckus and competitors in the wireless space reportedly launched efforts to recruit Ruckus partners.
"The limbo is over," acknowledged Gary Berzack, CTO and COO of New York-based eTribeca, a wireless solution and Ruckus partner who has done hundreds of Ruckus implementations. "Any news like this should be welcomed. Not knowing just erodes customer confidence."