Aruba CEO Orr: HP Deal Will Be Good for Company, Users
Orr and partners—including Bob Tinker, MobileIron CEO, and Chad Kinzelberg, senior vice president of business and corporate development at Palo Alto Networks—noted how the business world has transformed over the past several years to a mobile one, due to the rise of smartphones and tablets, as well as the cloud. Orr used a food metaphor to describe the change. "Wireless, when we started, was there to support wired," he said. "Now wireless is the burger and wired is the fries. And everyone wants a Happy Meal." The deal will make HP the top "Happy Meal deliverer." He also said Aruba would continue to innovate, pointing to the Aruba 7000 Cloud Services Controllers announced at the Atmosphere show March 3 that collapse multiple networking appliances found in campus networks into a single device. Also taking the stage was Jayshree Ullal, president and CEO of 10-year-old Arista Networks, who said the shift in the networking business away from hardware and toward software has opened up possibilities for vendors like Aruba and Arista in a market dominated by Cisco.Toward the end of his keynote, Orr told users that until the deal closes, Aruba and HP would continue to work together in some areas and compete in others. He also said that until then, he wouldn't be able to talk in any detail about his plans for when he takes over HP Networking. Orr said competitors would try to use the period before the close to raise concerns about the deal in hopes of winning over customers. In an email sent to media outlets after the deal was announced March 2, David Flynn, CEO of Aruba rival Aerohive Networks, said the HP deal is an opportunity for his company. "As mobility continues to infiltrate every facet of business and life, reliable wireless connectivity has become a requirement," Flynn said. "Merging two companies is complicated, and inevitably slows down product development, breaks partnerships and creates headaches for customers. Meanwhile, we'll keep focusing on innovation, advancing our technology, expanding our ecosystems, and bringing better wireless and better intelligence to our customers." After reports about a possible HP-Aruba deal emerged last week, Xirrus CEO Shane Buckley had similar thoughts, noting that Aruba is the second-largest WLAN vendor in the market and that HP already has its own wireless technologies. "This acquisition will likely have an impact on both vendors' WiFi product portfolios, which may cause disruptions to existing customers," Buckley said in an email statement. "Since Aruba also OEMs their products to HP competitors, such as Dell, Brocade and Alcatel-Lucent, this transaction creates as many questions for them as it creates for current HP and Aruba customers."
"You don't need just large companies" to build networks, Ullal said. "You can bring together a lot of best-in-breed [vendors] to make it happen."