The big three networking companies ? Cisco Systems, Bay Networks and 3Com ? are shipping switching products at massively reduced prices, signalling the outbreak of a long-predicted price war.
But with Cisco offering price cuts on 10Mbit switches, Bay on 100Mbit and 3Com on 1,000Mbit, dealers will face confusion about which vendor offers the best value for money.
Cisco has slashed up to 45 per cent of its desktop Ethernet switches with Fast Ethernet uplinks. The Catalyst 1900 24x 10Base-T port has dropped to #49 per port until 26 July.
Bay claimed it was slaughtering its rivals with the 10/ 100Mbit autosensing switching product at #199 per port. In retaliation, 3Com claimed it was offering better value for money with its launch of the Gigabit Ethernet Superstack II switch. Until 31 May it will bundle five 24-port switches for the cost of four at #97 per port.
Steve Carter, vice president of engineering at 3Com, said: ?A lot of this started before Christmas when companies started leaking things about price reductions. It?s been a flat quarter in anticipation of the price cuts.?
Richard Bradley, Cisco director of channel sales, said its price cuts were aimed at pushing more volume through the channel.
Ed Williams, Cisco product manager at distributor Azlan, said the cuts will be welcomed by channel partners. But he warned the prices could give rise to confusion.
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