BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Amid the big mobile tradeshow comes a bit of news apparently out of the RSA Conference back home: Reuters reports that Juniper Networks Inc.
tried to sell its enterprise division late last year.
Apparently, the company queried potential buyers about picking up the NetScreen security business, among other options, but got no exciting offers.
The theory, which Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson sort of denied ("if you look at the acquisitions we have done, we're a buyer not a seller," he told a Reuters reporter in person), actually makes sense.
Juniper's strategy has been heavy on the service provider side, with a string of new products that it's still nurturing to maturity.
I know we keep listing them all, but hey, why not list them again: the QFabric data center fabric, the T4000 core router, the MobileNext evolved packet core for Long Term Evolution (LTE), the PTX Converged Supercore and the ACX access router.
They were supposed to combine for a shiny, ascendent Juniper starting right about now, but it hasn't worked out.
Juniper was surprisingly upbeat about 2013 during its earnings call in January, partly because those new products ought to start bearing fruit. But things haven't gone according to plan, and what was supposed to be an exciting year is starting with a lot of question marks.
Enterprise is still an important market to Juniper, but it's going to have to get NetScreen's enterprise mojo back. Cisco and F5 are on crusades to lead the security market. If Juniper wants to stay in, it's going to have to devote resources to security -- and to all those other markets it's covering.
Meanwhile, you've got the anecdote of Juniper scoffing at Nir Zuk's next-generation firewall idea. He used it to found startup Palo Alto Networks, which raised a big fat Silicon Valley IPO in July, as the Reuters story points out.
Palo Alto represents a major missed opportunity for Juniper. It's not as though Juniper started selling digital cameras or anything, but it does feel like the company has overreached and needs to pick its battles.