Clarke to steady 3Com ship

Clarke to steady 3Com ship

Networking vendor 3Com has had its fair share of challenges over the past 12 months. Not least of all for its Australian office was the fact that it went without a managing director for several months. Now that Mike Clarke has assumed the role, he's calling for focus, and a commitment to new technologies.

The former Lotus Development Asia Pacific marketing director took over as 3Com's Australia and New Zealand managing director in May. At the time, 3Com was going through a second round of retrenchments, which saw the departure of long-serving marketing director Michelle Kinna, who had effectively acted as de facto country manager for some time.

The then New Zealand country manager, Patrick Carsen, was initially offered the Australia/New Zealand position, but it was a proposal that former 3Com employees in contact with ARN said "never looked like being a long-term option", since the NZ-based Carsen would have had to move his family to Sydney. He has since left the vendor.

Nearly six months on and Clarke is eager to capitalise on the new focus and global restructuring that 3Com has endured for over a year. The future for 3Com, he said, is in Gigabit Ethernet, voice-data convergence and wireless access.

3Com has invested heavily in these technologies at the expense of its investment in routing due to the fiercely competitive and mature enterprise LAN market. "It's hard to gain market share in an existing [saturated] market," Clarke said. "It's easier to develop share in new markets, with leading-edge technology."

As such, Clarke said the channel can expect to see more resources for resellers that continue to actively sell 3Com, including involving 3Com staff in bids for key accounts. Resellers that "sometimes" sell 3Com can expect less vendor contact.

"There is a lot of quoting going on in the market right now, and I almost feel sorry for resellers that are doing a lot of work for projects that might not go ahead. It seems like people are using this quiet time -- quiet from a procurement point of view -- to really look at their procurement and what they're going to do.

"But it's a case of hold on now, and build for the future."

Photograph: 3Com's Mike Clarke

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