Extreme CEO: Zebra Deal Will Grow Vendor's WLAN Business
Revenue in the global WLAN market in the second quarter jumped 6.7 percent over the same period in 2015, and the enterprise segment of the space increased 9.4 percent, the strongest growth in two years, according to IDC analysts. Fueling the growth has been refresh cycles and companies spending money on digital transformation efforts, they said in a report earlier this month. "Recognizing the critical role that WLAN plays in IT's mobility and digital initiatives, enterprises are committing to WLAN upgrades and refreshes," Nolan Greene, senior research analyst for network infrastructure at IDC, said in a statement. "Even as global economic indicators are mixed, IDC believes that enterprises will continue to invest in robust WLAN infrastructure in order to compete effectively in the digital economy." Meyercord said he and Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson first discussed the possibility of Extreme buying Zebra's WLAN unit about a year ago, but it wasn't until recent months that negotiations accelerated. Throughout the process, Gustafsson reiterated that his primary concern in selling the unit was ensuring that any buyer would continue to make customers its priority, Meyercord said. The sale will be good for both companies, according to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research. Zebra is able to shed a unit that didn't always fit in well with its other businesses, while Extreme gets more wireless technologies to sell.The challenge now is execution after the sale is complete, he said. There is some product overlap that will have to be dealt with, but if Extreme can successfully integrate the Zebra business into its own, the deal will benefit the networking vendor.
"Extreme has been trying to grow its WiFi business," Kerravala told eWEEK, noting other vendors—including Cisco, HPE/Aruba and Brocade/Ruckus—also are building out their portfolios.