Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord On The Difference Between Extreme And Cisco

Networking vendor Extreme Networks is taking aim at the No. 1 player in the market, Cisco, with some sharp criticisms of Cisco's acquisition and product strategies.

In an interview with CRN during Extreme's 2017 Global Partner Summit, Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord said that Cisco has paid "crazy" prices for certain acquisitions and that some of the company's products are "science fair stuff."

[Related: 10 Things Partners Need To Know About Extreme's New Partner Program]

Extreme has made a recent string of asset acquisitions from companies including Avaya and Brocade for $210 million in total, but the vendor remains focused on its core business of enterprise networking, Meyercord told CRN during the conference in Orlando, Fla.

"We're not going to chase shiny objects. That's what Cisco does. We're going to let Cisco do that," Meyercord said. "They pay crazy prices for technology that they feel they need, and then the bet is that they have this massive distribution, and then they're going to go sell it. It might work for them--I think most times it doesn't. But in our case, we're not going to go chasing shiny objects, silver bullets."

In recent years, he said, Extreme has re-organized itself to focus on what it believes customers and partners are most interested in.

"It's different from our competitors, that I would say are more engineering-focused perhaps, in terms of creating products--some of them science fair stuff--pushing them out to customers. And it's not always in the customer's best interest," Meyercord said. "But if you're a big company like Cisco, you can do that."

While competitors such as Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are certainly pursuing the enterprise networking market, "they're focused everywhere else," he added.

At Extreme Networks, "we have a [market] share opportunity, where a small share point has a big impact on our business. It's a big opportunity for us," Meyercord said.

If all goes well in terms of working with partners, he said, "we can pick off some share points and take share and create some nice growth at Extreme."

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