Briefs: October 30, 2006


The company has launched an "aggressive" internal and external search for candidates to fill Thompson's vacated job as vice president and general manager for the HP Solution Partners Organization, Americas.

Although his new role is effective Nov. 1, Thompson will aid with the transition through Jan. 1. During the search for Thompson's replacement, U.S. channel management responsibilities will be assumed by Jim McDonnell, senior vice president and general manager, HP Solution Partners Organization, Worldwide.

"From my perspective, this is an opportunity to garner more worldwide experience within HP," Thompson said. Thompson's new role as vice president and general manager for HP's worldwide workstation business was created through a recent HP Personal Systems Group restructuring.

Cisco Systems last week moved to broaden its unified communications portfolio with plans to acquire mobile software vendor Orative in a $31 million deal.

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Orative, a four-year-old startup, makes software that will enable customers to tie their cellular phones into their Cisco VoIP and unified communications deployments, said Alex Hadden-Boyd, director of mobile unified communications at Cisco. Orative, which has 33 employees, is already a member of Cisco's Technology Developer Partner program.

Cisco customers will be able to use their cell phones to integrate with business communications applications, providing improved productivity, Hadden-Boyd said. For example, callers could access presence information for employees in the corporate directory, enabling them to see at a glance whether users are available to take calls or messages. They also will be able to see and access messages from Cisco's Unity voice-mail and unified messaging platform and interact with Cisco's Unified MeetingPlace voice- and Web-conferencing line.

Orative had already begun recruiting Cisco solution providers, she said. The deal is expected to close in January, and products should be in channel partners' hands by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2007, she said.

Orative's products include the Orative Enterprise Server, which will sit inside the customers' firewall connected to Cisco's Unified CallManager IP-PBX, and Orative Client Software, which gets installed on users' cell phones over the air. The software runs on several mobile operating systems, including Blackbery, BREW, Java 2 Platform Micro Edition and Symbian OS.

Security vendor Sourcefire is seeking up to $75 million in an initial public offering.

Sourcefire, which oversees commercial development of the open-source intrusion prevention technology Snort, last week filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlining its intention to go public.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering are yet to be determined. Sourcefire and some of its stockholders were expected to sell the shares to be offered, the vendor said in a statement.

According to the SEC filing, Sourcefire reported total revenue of $28.9 million and gained 171 new customers during the first nine months of 2006, compared to $21.2 million in revenue and 116 customers during the same period last year. Sourcefire's employee base rose to 174 during the first nine months of this year, up from 142 a year ago. Sourcefire's shares will trade under the proposed Nasdaq ticker symbol FIRE.

Morgan Stanley will be the lead manager of the offering.

In October 2005, Sourcefire agreed to be acquired by Israel-based Check Point Software Technologies, but the $225 million deal was scuttled because of government regulatory concerns. Snort is used by the Department of Defense and other government agencies, as well as by several large U.S. corporations.

Security vendor Ingram Micro CEO Greg Spierkel last week said the wait for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system is not stalling sales in the booming SMB market.

Spierkel told financial analysts that he expects record fourth-quarter sales despite fears that customers could hold off buying systems in anticipation of the Vista launch early next year. "We have not seen anything at all in a negative fashion this year or in the current quarter [with regard to the Vista delay]," Spierkel said.

Spierkel said he expects the distribution powerhouse to post sales for the fourth quarter of $8.4 billion to $8.65 billion, up 9 percent from the $7.45 billion in the year-ago period. What's more, he said, Ingram expects net income of $85 million to $92 million, or 50 cents to 54 cents per share.

Spierkel's Vista comments came after the world's largest distributor of computer products posted much better than expected results for its third quarter, ended Sept. 30, including the best operating income performance in eight years and the best third quarter sales performance since the dot-com meltdown in 2000.

Ingram reported net income of $58.5 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, on an 8 percent increase in sales to $7.51 billion.

Juniper Networks this week is launching new security and routing products for branch offices, including models that will have integrated VoIP capabilities from Avaya.

The strategy to put multiple services on a single branch-office box competes directly with rival Cisco Systems and its Integrated Services Router line.

Juniper is refreshing its J-series access router line with a new hardware platform. The new routers are based on the same hardware as Juniper's Secure Services Gateway 500-series products, a lineup of security devices with integrated routing capabilities.

The vendor plans early next year to release an Avaya Voice Gateway module that will integrate with the J-series routers, enabling solution providers to provide branch office routing and IP telephony in one box, said Hitesh Sheth, vice president of security products at Juniper.

"The entire Avaya channel will be enabled to sell the bundled offering, and the Juniper partner base too once they have Avaya certifications," Sheth said.

Juniper also plans over the next 12 to 18 months to launch a WAN optimization module for the new routers based on its own WXC product line.

The new routers are four to 10 times faster than their predecessors, Sheth said.

Pricing for the J4350 starts at $4,000, while the J6350 starts at $10,500. Both include firewall and VPN capabilities and are scheduled to ship this quarter.