Cisco's Funk Breakdown

Funk could be Juniper's backdoor into Cisco accounts

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

December 2, 2005

2 Min Read
Cisco's Funk Breakdown

The acquisition of security firm Funk Software Inc. by Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) -- completed late Thursday -- could provoke Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to buy or partner with more security startups, as the networking number two guns for Cisco accounts.

Juniper is planning to rebrand the Funk product line, which includes the popular Odyssey client and Steel-Belted Radius server, with the Juniper logo and sell it through the J-Partner qualified reseller program starting in February 2006.

Unlike many of the startups in the enterprise wireless market, Funk already has a sizable installed base of customers and many partners, including the top supplier of enterprise wireless LAN equipment: Cisco.

In its rapid re-branding plan, Juniper looks to be using security to gain entry into Cisco accounts. And Juniper's moves have angered at least one long-time Funk reseller, eTribeca LLC."I give both Funk and Juniper very poor marks in dealing with the transition of both resellers/distributors to date," writes Tribeca CTO Gary Berzack in an email to Unstrung. "My current reading based on official communications from Funk is that I am to stop buying Funk software from distributors we have worked with for years and in fact I have to be a full Juniper partner. What is not clear is our pricing and competitiveness in the market place going forward."

This is not like other wireless mergers in recent months, Berzack notes. Airspace, for instance, was a very new company "with some key clients but small market penetration."

"This will affect thousands of our end-users since one Funk sale can represent 100 seats or more," Berzack says. "Everyone uses Funk."

Juniper did not reply to requests for comment by press time.

Cisco says that the acquisition shouldn't change its relationship with Funk.

"We're still going to let them work with us," says a Cisco spokesman. "But there's more than one egg in our basket."

Cisco also has wireless LAN security partnerships with Devicescape Software Inc. and Meetinghouse Data Communications Inc.. Analysts suggest that the Funk acquisition could prompt Cisco to buy more security firepower for itself.

"They are expanding beyond the capabilities that Funk provided, so they would have had to acquire or invent new technology capabilities in any event," says Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. "I would not be surprised to see Cisco partner or acquire."

The Cisco spokesman wouldn't comment, but the firm has already bought in wireless-related security firms like Perfigo and worked with others such as AirDefense Inc.. (See Is Cisco Seeking Security?.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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