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Avaya hangs onto Nortel data networking gear -- what's next, a Flip cam?

While we’re all twiddling our thumbs and waiting for Jan. 19 — when Avaya will announce which of Nortel’s acquired unified communications products are staying and going — there is still plenty to chew on about the official closing of Avaya’s buyout of the bankrupt telephony giant.

Despite analyst predictions to the contrary (oops — sorry, Zeus, we spoke a week too soon), Avaya will be hanging onto Nortel’s data networking business as part of the UC vendor’s strategy of “rewiring itself to be a fit-for-purpose company,” said Todd Abbott, senior vice president of sales and marketing and president of global field operations, in a briefing Monday with SearchNetworking.com.

Branch offices getting outfitted for Avaya integrated voice solutions wouldn’t need to involve a second vendor to buy the networking gear that goes along with such a deployment, he said.

“It was a strategic part of the acquisition. There are elements of the [UC and contact center] architecture that require a tight integration with data,” Abbott said. “It is an enabler for UC and we will continue to invest in the product line.”

OK, to be fair, Avaya didn’t acutally say they’re trying to compete with Cisco. In not so many words, they pretty much said the opposite:

“You’re not going to find us in the carrier backbone networks. We don’t need to be there and it’s not a core element of the architecture … to deliver UC and CC [solutions],” Abbott said. “You’re not going to see us expand the investment to be all things.”

Where will they get the leg up? Maybe over UC/networking corporate cousins Siemens Enterprise and Enterasys?

Muddying the waters though is a little but important detail Network World’s Tim Greene points out: Avaya will continue its partnership with Brocade and Extreme Networks. Little commentary on that so far in the blogosphere, but you’ve gotta imagine those guys aren’t too happy with this.

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