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Juniper: EX, Not Extreme

Craig Matsumoto

6:00 PM -- NEW YORK -- Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) says the EX line of Ethernet switches, released today, was two years in the making.

More than two years ago, the chatter around Juniper was whether it would buy its way into Ethernet switching instead. Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) was most often listed as a candidate, and a source recently suggested Force10 Networks Inc. was under serious consideration as well. (See Would Juniper Go to Extremes?, Extreme Juniper Rumors Are Back, and Extreme Thoughts.)

But building, versus buying, was the right choice, analyst Simon Leopold of Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. writes in a note issued today: "Such a deal would have led to integration challenges plus high costs to develop common software and implement Juniper's engineering philosophies for high-performance and high-reliability."

CEO Scott Kriens still won't even confirm that Juniper considered an acquisition (yes, we asked him today), but he claims customers so far have said they're happy Juniper built its own switches instead. One advantage, as Leopold infers: It let the company stick to the Junos operating system rather than work with something new.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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