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Editorial: Tackling the next challenge

Editorial: Tackling the next challenge

Court cases and acquisitions dominate the news

There are a range of interesting, albeit different, stories within this week’s edition of ARN.

A dispute between Annabelle Bits (which trades as ASI Solutions) and Webster Computer Systems, against Fujitsu Australia, took a new turn when the Federal Court judge presiding over both cases ruled that the pair could pursue legal proceedings against the vendor’s parent company, Fujitsu Ltd. The issue goes way back to 2000, when Fujitsu released a hard disk drive range to its OEM partners globally. Both Annabelle Bits and Webster used the drives as part of PC systems for their customers across Australia. But a defect with the units’ internal chip left customers all over the world with faulty drives and resulted in signifi cant commercial losses for suppliers, the local businesses claim.

Annabelle Bits and Webster took the matter to the Federal Court in 2007 and have now been granted the right to pursue proceedings against Fujitsu in Japan. Be sure to keep following ARN for updates on this legal row. In other news, acquisitions were coming through thick and fast across the distribution and vendor segments of the IT market. One that surprised many of us was news last week of Cisco’s $US3 billion bid for video conferencing vendor, Tandberg (see page 6).

In a global press conference, Cisco chairman and CEO, John Chambers, claimed to have high hopes for what the two companies could accomplish together in the video conferencing market. The networking giant has been slowly but surely building up its arsenal in the unifi ed communications and video arena through its acquisition of digital video vendor, Flip Video, along with its intelligent networks platform and telepresence solutions.

While the Tandberg deal may seemingly have come from nowhere, it does make sense for Cisco. Tandberg has had some success in the SMB market, a segment Cisco traditionally hasn’t been in. As the networking giant makes its way downstream, picking up established brands like Tandberg is a quick way to gain market share and customer recognition.

Distributors, Westcon Group and Lan 1, were also busy fi nalising purchases last week to expand their reach, both in terms of new technologies and geography. Westcon’s acquisition of NZ’s prominent infrastructure distributor, Datastor, is yet another step in its efforts to become a regional powerhouse (see page 6). Earlier this year, the company also picked up Nortel’s former Asian assets to kickoff its presence in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

Lan 1, on the other hand, is hoping its acquisition of niche wireless distributor, TR Telecom, will see it providing broader solutions to its reseller base, while gaining access to players in regional Australia (see page 10).

Over the last couple of months, ARN has reported on IT companies that are starting to look at market conditions more positively. The above examples are further proof many are building up their muscles in anticipation of the economic turnaround, and I’m sure we’re going to see many more stories like this in coming months.


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