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IBM struggles with networking obscurity

IBM struggles with networking obscurity

As IBM's e-business mantra continues to proliferate, senior executives in its network hardware division are struggling to avoid a slide into obscurity.

Scott Smith, IBM's Asia Pacific general manager of networking systems, said IBM's networking hardware division (NHD) is "trying to make sure it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

"Networking is implied [with e-business], but not necessarily discussed," Smith said. He claims the business unit will survive "as long as you realise".

IBM's NHD is focusing its attention on "Web-enabled applications" and "end-to-end" networking solutions, rather than shipping individual networking units, Smith said.

In addition, he said the company has focused primarily on three market segments: service providers and Internet service providers, the enterprise and small to medium business (SMB).

While Smith refused to offer revenue figures for the NHD's Asia-Pacific growth, he said its SMB business grew 87 per cent last year.

In fact, SMBs represent a significant opportunity for the company. Andrew McDougall, IBM NHD's Australia and New Zealand manager, said the company will continue pushing heavily into the channel, battling out a component-level pricing war with competitors.

But according to Smith, NHD plans to continue its attack on the enterprise space with its "systems approach".

"That's clearly where we shine," Smith said.


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