Partners Expect More Channel Investment, Stronger Competitive Stance From Ruckus As It Begins Life Under Arris

Partners say they're hopeful Ruckus will see a boost in sales resources, a renewed commitment to products and improvements to channel operations now that Arris International has closed its acquisition of the wireless technology provider.

"We hope to see a commitment to the channel, and investment in the channel, and a private company with significant cash can really put that to work," said Michael Knight, president and CEO of Encore Technology Group, a Greenville, S.C., solution provider that works with Ruckus. "We're hopeful resources will flow to the Ruckus business unit. The key is how quickly they enable that and have the people and structures in place to do that."

After spending about a year caught up in M&A limbo, Arris International announced today that it closed its acquisition of Ruckus Wireless and its ICX switching business from Broadcom.

[Related: Ruckus Launches New High-Performance Switches, Seeks To Cool Partner Anxiety As Arris Transaction Approaches]

Ruckus and its 1,700 employees now become Ruckus Networks, an Arris company, and part of a new Arris Enterprise Networks business unit. The unit will be led by Dan Rabinovitsj, who was previously Ruckus COO.

Ruckus executives have sought to reassure partners in recent months as uncertainty around the acquisition grew.

"We haven't reduced our Ruckus business, but we haven't had the accelerator down until we saw how things were going to pan out," Knight said, noting that the string of acquisitions that led Ruckus to this point did pull some focus away from its support operation. "The teams are working hard, and we're looking at that, and we do want to grow our Ruckus business," he said.

Gary Berzack, COO at eTribeca , a New York, N.Y.-based solution provider that works with Ruckus, said he was breathing "a big sigh of relief" Friday morning. "Finally, we have closure, and the start of a new direction."

Still, there were some benefits to the delay. "They've had an opportunity to think a number of things through, and this looks more mature than some acquisitions that are done in 60 days" Berzack said. Customers, Berzack said, have barely noticed that Ruckus was part of a four-party merger melee that took far longer than anticipated, and that's to the company's credit.

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"Most customers don't even know that Ruckus wireless is a subsidiary unit of even Brocade, or Broadcom or Arris, and that's an impressive endorsement to the brand Ruckus. Now we have an opportunity to address the future and not deal with any of the frustrations of the past."

"Clients weren't necessarily worried about the change in ownership," Berzack said. "But there are strong emerging players, and some of the larger players like [Cisco] Meraki are continuing to expand their product line. Hopeful we'll see strength in the marketing and sales team, and I'm open to seeing what can Arris brings."

Brocade acquired Ruckus in May of last year. The following November, Broadcom announced that it would buy Brocade in a $5.9 billion deal scheduled to close before Aug. 1, 2017. As part of the transaction, Ruckus was to be sold by Broadcom to Arris. Those plans were delayed, however, and the Broadcom-Brocade deal didn't close until mid-November.

Last month, Ruckus launched a new family of scalable edge switches, the ICX 7650, aimed at meeting the demands of high-density Wi-Fi in the higher education, public venue, and hospitality sectors. Ruckus made sweeping changes to its channel program and appointed a new channel leader, Raelyn Kritzer, in September.

"I feel like they're doing the things they need to do, with the revamp of the channel program, embracing the specialty programs within it and the partners that have those specialties, like us in the smart cities space," said Al Brown, CEO of SmartWave Technologies, an Alpharetta, Ga. solution provider that works with Ruckus.

"The opportunity for Ruckus now with Arris's backing is to evolve the product line. In smart cities, there's a whole new ballgame with the plethora of IoT devices that need to be connected. To have an innovative tech company as a partner is only going to be advantageous to us, and I'm optimistic now that's the picture's a lot clearer," Brown said.