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Nortel partners sign with Juniper (News roundup)

Other headlines: Networking partners selling what customers don't want; The Woz turns up in Salt Lake City; Cisco loves the stimulus package

Juniper says it's signing Nortel partners

Juniper Networks is already claiming a bit of a victory in poaching Nortel partners. Still, the company won't list actual names of partners that have made the switch. A company spokesperson said Juniper has "welcomed a dozen new Nortel-Juniper partners since December communications hit." In December, weeks before the Nortel bankruptcy filing, Juniper sent a letter to Nortel partners urging them to consider adding Juniper to their portfolio. Juniper's spokesperson said the company has "generated a solid pipeline of interested [Nortel] channel partners [and is] consistently receiving calls." Nortel partners have shown interest in Juniper's alliance with Avaya for a voice-data solution. Asked why the company couldn't release partner names, the spokesperson said the company wanted to maintain the privacy of these solution providers. A number of other companies are fighting to attract Nortel partners, including Cisco Systems and AT&T. Meanwhile, many Nortel partners say they will stick around in hopes that Nortel will trim down and re-emerge a stronger company.

Networking channel may be selling what users don't quite want, study shows

A new SearchITChannel survey of more than 600 solution providers, regarding their top IT channel priorities for 2009, shows disparities between the projects they want to sell and what customers may actually be seeking. The survey asked channel partners about their priorities in 25 technologies across five major IT project types -- management, infrastructure, security, software and networking. The study then compared some of these answers to a similar study of IT users. Network solution providers surveyed pointed to WAN optimization, IP telephony, unified communications (UC) and wireless LAN as top technologies this year. But users placed much less emphasis on some of these technologies, including UC and WAN optimization. Other interesting results: 56% of partners expect to work on disaster recovery and business continuity projects; and another 38% of solution providers expect to implement compliance projects for clients in 2009. Both solution providers and users see deeper budget cuts looming, though the channel predicts larger cuts than users.

The Woz turns up in Salt Lake City -- at a storage company

Never mind that he will compete on "Dancing with the Stars" this season, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak -- The Woz -- will be the chief scientist for storage company Fusion-io, the company announced last week. Fusion-io makes costly, but super-speedy, solid-state disk technology that Wozniak has called "revolutionary." About the company, he said: "The technology marketplace has not seen such capacity for innovation and radical transformation since the mainframe computer was replaced by the home computer. Fusion-io's technology is extremely useful to many different applications and almost all of the world's servers." Wozniak will act as a technical adviser and will work with the executive team to develop a strategy for major global accounts. While Fusion-io has received praise for its technology, the Salt Lake City-based company has not exactly been a household name even among the trade press. That's about to change with the addition of The Woz, one of the most celebrated and legendary tech geeks in the country.

Enterprise desk phones exit left

Mobile phones will begin to replace enterprise landline phones in larger numbers by 2011, according to a new Gartner report released last week. By 2012, about 23% of workers using corporate mobile devices won't have landline phones -- up 4% from today, Gartner told BusinessWeek. So the research firm warns enterprise IT managers (and their solution providers) to quickly bone up on supporting and managing mobility. As part of the report, Gartner issued a four-step program for enterprises to make the transition: planning the timeline to an all-out switch to mobility; procuring the best possible service plan; managing policy that addresses usage, costs, standards and security; and creating a strategy to remove unneeded desk phones.

Cisco loves the stimulus package

During a gloomy earnings report last week, Cisco reported flagging revenues in Q2 and predicted slumping sales in the coming quarters. But on a brighter note, CEO John Chambers -- a staunch Republican and economic adviser to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign -- said he expects a turnaround in the latter stages of this year, partly as a result of President Barack Obama's proposed stimulus package. "The reason I am more optimistic than others is because you have $1.6 trillion coming in from governments around the world, with the U.S. accounting for about half of that," Chambers said. He went on to offer direct praise to Obama. Cisco reported $9.1 billion in sales for Q2, down 7.5% from the same quarter last year. Net income was $1.5 billion, down 27% from $2.1 billion in the same quarter last year.

Cisco points networking professionals toward cheaper certifications

Cisco is working to cut certifications costs, reported last week. In a podcast, Fred Weiller, director of marketing for Learning@Cisco, explains how the company is creating new online initiatives for self-training and pointing potential students toward government-sponsored or -subsidized education programs. The podcast is a follow-up to a story the week before that showed how paths to certification can be too expensive for professionals to afford on their own.

Voice and UC certifications likely to grow

IP telephony and unified communications (UC) certifications are likely to proliferate in coming years, reported last week. While the market for voice certification isn't large now, it has the potential to grow, according to IDC vice president of human resources and learning Cushing Anderson. Vendors will probably create these certifications over the years in order to be sure their technology is best implemented and managed, so both networking professionals and solution providers will eventually be more valued when they earn these certifications.

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