D-Link Pushes Into Cisco Turf With Westcon Disty Deal

Under the partnership, unveiled Monday, Westcon Group will now carry D-Link's xStack line of networking and convergence products in North America. The relationship will focus primarily on Westcon Group's Comstor division, which to date has focused primarily on distributing products from Cisco Systems.

With D-Link on its linecard, Comstor and its partners will have a lower-cost option to present in deals they previously had to walk away from, said Keith Karlsen, executive vice president of D-Link, Fountain Valley, Calif.

"They're really interested in offering an alternative," Karlsen said. "We want to complement what they're already doing at the [network] core with our products and offer an aggressive alternative [at the edge] from the value and cost perspective that they haven't had before."

Karlsen said D-Link products would also be available through other Westcon Group divisions.

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Westcon executives were not available for comment Monday. "We see the addition of D-Link as a complementary solution to our established vendors and look forward to helping them uncover greater opportunities moving forward," said Jeff Smith, vice president and general manager of Comstor, in a statement.

With the new partnership, D-Link aims to move upstream from its traditional consumer and SMB focus, targeting enterprise, "Fortune 2000-type" accounts, Karlsen said.

"Big enterprise accounts are looking, as budgets tighten up, at how they can get more for their money," he said, noting that the partnership should bring new enterprise-focused partners into the D-Link fold.

In addition to Westcon Group, D-Link also has distribution partnerships with Ingram Micro, Tech Data and D&H Distributing.

D-Link is working to move upstream at the same time rivals like Cisco are pushing down. Cisco executives earlier this month said the company wants to push rival "value brands" like D-Link off of its partners' linecards in favor of its own SMB-focused Linksys division.

"If Cisco partners are carrying the Cisco brand and a lower-priced brand, we think they should carry the Linksys brand rather than that other brand," said Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer and president of Cisco-Linksys, earlier this month at the Cisco Partner Summit 2007 in Las Vegas.

Cisco at the show also launched a new VoIP system under its own brand name aimed at the small-business market.

"This has been something we've been dealing with for a while now with players like Cisco. They have a strong desire to move downstream as much as possible," Karlsen said. "The issue they're going to face is going to be the perception of their own image as a proprietary, closed environment. We tend to be the opposite."