Customers have cancelled expected orders worth tens of thousands of pounds from 3Com resellers after the vendor stunned the industry last week by withdrawing from the high-end networking market.
Justin Mackey, technical director at Pervasive Networks, a VAR which sold only 3Com products, said: "It's unprecedented to just trash a business like this. 3Com has totally destroyed its reputation in the enterprise market. We'd sold our customers a strategy with a future. This is going to hurt our customer relationships."
Mackey said 3Com has also damaged its own reputation and doubted his enterprise customers will "ever buy from 3Com again".
3Com has discontinued its high-end CoreBuilder switch and referred its customers to former rival Extreme Networks, which has received an unspecified equity investment from 3Com. It will offer CoreBuilder customers discounts of up to 70 per cent.
Extreme has also temporarily authorised 3Com partners to resell its products, and 3Com will uphold existing warranties and support contracts for five years.
Extreme VARs will not be introduced to accounts held by 3Com partners, according to George Prodan, vice-president of marketing at Extreme. "We want to extend our reach and that means working with the incumbent [3Com] reseller."
Westcon, which sold the bulk of 3Com's CoreBuilders in the UK, has won a contract to distribute Extreme in the UK. Landis, which already distributes Extreme in Europe, has brought forward its introduction to the UK. Mayflex and Equinox also have distribution rights.
In the UK, 15 former 3Com salesmen and engineers have applied for positions at Extreme. David Grant, UK general manager at Extreme, said formal offers should be made this week. Worldwide, 200 3Com employees will transfer to Extreme.
3Com has also withdrawn its PathBuilder and NetBuilder WAN products and is negotiating to allow Motorola to sell these. According to sources, that deal has already been signed.
3Com will also create a joint venture with Accton Technology and NatSteel Electronics to manufacture analogue modems under the US Robotics name.
The loss of its high-end networking business and modem sales will halve turnover, analysts said.
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