An expansionist era at HP
The 3Com purchase lets HP fill holes in its product mix far quicker than it could by developing its own product line from scratch. Although it is one of the world’s leading makers of computer servers for big business, HP has offered only a limited range of networking hardware. Most of that has been at the “edge’’ of the network, like the switches that connect a roomful of PCs and printers to a corporate system. Cisco dominates the “core’’ market - switches and routers that distribute the massive amounts of data streaming into the network. With 3Com, HP gets a ready-made line of core network products to sell.
Buying 3Com “gives us critical mass in a very important market,’’ said David Donatelli, a former top EMC executive who made a surprise move to HP in April. Donatelli will oversee 3Com in his new role as HP’s executive vice president of enterprise servers and networking, and is slated to take over HP’s storage operations in April, when his noncompete agreement with EMC expires. That will put him on the frontline of HP’s rivalry with the Cisco-EMC joint venture.