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Huawei Enterprise Comes Out Swinging At Cisco, Others Over Their Lack Of Innovation

Joseph F. Kovar

Rob Claus, vice president of channels, Huawei Enterprise U.S.A.

There's a new "no more Mr. Nice Guy" attitude at Huawei Enterprise U.S.A. as the company starts pushing back against what it sees as unfounded criticism of the company by competitors.

Huawei Enterprise U.S.A., the Cupertino, Calif.-based subsidiary of China-based telecom and IT giant Huawei, this week used its Huawei Partner Summit channel partner conference to tell partners that the company will no longer stand by while competitors use the media and government to criticize it.

Rob Claus, vice president of channels for Huawei Enterprise, said that competitors have been trying to set the tone of the Huawei brand, and that it is time for Huawei to brand itself based on its technology and innovation.

[Related: Huawei's ICT Nation Aims To Unite Partners, Vendors, CIOs In One Community ]

"Our competitors are not being nice to us," Claus said. "We're not going to be nice to them."

Huawei has been facing allegations from Cisco and the U.S. government of collusion with the Chinese government, allegations that have made it difficult for Huawei to establish a U.S. presence despite its status as company with operations worldwide and revenue of $38 billion.

Partners applauded Huawei Enterprise for taking a stand against Cisco and other competitors that have tried to brand Huawei as being too close to the Chinese government.

Claus' comments were the first time someone articulated Huawei's competitive advantage and portfolio of solutions offerings, said Joe Asady, CEO of Netfast Technology Solutions, a New York-based IT solution provider and Huawei partner.

"Huawei to this point has taken it on the chin," Asady said. "In America, you need to defend your brand."

Huawei has one of the IT industry's widest portfolios, one that it developed with its own innovation capabilities, Claus said. "Huawei doesn't acquire," he said. "We innovate."

However, he said, competitors such as HP, Cisco and Dell have "innovated" via acquisitions. "It's pretty expensive to innovate," he said. "It's expensive to keep up with engineering."

Claus listed out recent competitors' attempts to innovate, including HP's trouble-ridden Autonomy acquisition, Dell's acquisition of Compellent, and reports that IBM may sell its x86 server business to China-based Lenovo.

Companies like HP or Dell have to do a better job of explaining their definition of innovation, Claus said. "You have to say to yourselves, it's not innovation," he said, and people should ask "Is it innovation? Or an attempt to innovate?"

NEXT: Huawei Looking To Be The Next Channel Favorite

Huawei's Claus then asked solution providers if they are picking winners. "How would you like to have a great 3Com practice, and then it gets acquired by HP?" he said. "How are you doing three years later?"

Rather than a substitute for innovation, more consolidation means cuts in relationships and less money for solution providers, Claus said.

"The thing is, we are not going to be sold," he said. "We are not going to be bought by anybody. We're here to stay. ... We're a stable company. We will be successful in the United States."

Companies like HP and Cisco have not done well with their partners, Claus said. "If one [partner] program runs out of steam, they have to make another one."

Cisco, meanwhile, has saturated its partner community and focuses only on a small group of its largest partners, Claus said.

"We're just beginning," he said. "We're not over-saturated. I'd love to have channel conflict."

Steve Baker, founder of IP Convergence, an Argyle, Texas-based solution provider and Huawei's partner of the year, told other solution providers at the Huawei Partner Summit that, in his experience, he gets results from Huawei when he asks for new features to be added to the vendor's products.

"We can have a discussion," Baker said. "I don't just get a 'no.' They ask 'Why do you want that? What will this do for the customer.'"

Billy Riddle, senior account manager at DataSpan, a Wildomar, Calif.-based solution provider that is considering signing up with Huawei, said he found Claus' comments during his presentation about Cisco Chairman John Chambers once saying that Huawei is the company Cisco should be most concerned about of particular interest.

"Huawei told us that Cisco's product line is only about 6 [percent] to 8 percent of Huawei's," Riddle said. "If I work with Cisco, which worries about a company that has only a 6 [percent] to 8 percent overlap with Huawei, I have to really look at partnering with Huawei."

Mario Guerendo, president and CEO of Libanga Computer Systems, a Zionsville, Ind.-based SMB solution provider and Huawei partner, said Huawei is far from overselling itself during the partner summit.

"They're actually underselling themselves," Guerendo said. "That's why Cisco is so worried about Huawei and carrying out negative campaigns against the company. In the networking world, I would call Cisco a Toyota and Huawei an Audi selling for a lower price than a Toyota."

Cisco declined to comment about Huawei's comments. Dell, HP and IBM spokespeople did not reply to requests for response to Huawei's comments about them.


Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at

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