Who Should Make Your Business Tablet? Alcatel-Lucent Sparks War of Words with Avaya and Cisco

by Matt Klassen on April 8, 2011

There’s an old adage that goes something like this, “It’s much easier to criticize than to create,” the truth of which has probably been felt by many innovators over the course of human history, the latest being Avaya and Cisco.

At Alcatel-Lucent’s (AL) Dynamic Tour 2011 event held in Barcelona two days ago, company executives fired a salvo of harsh criticism towards both Avaya and Cisco, calling the companies’ respective Flare experience and Cius tablet “stupid,” and a “big mistake.”  The argument from AL executives was simple, communication vendors like Avaya and Cisco have no business competing against dedicated tablet manufacturers, as the former will have no chance at competing with the latter, ultimately producing a substandard product.

Yesterday Avaya fired back, stating that not only did AL misunderstand the purpose and versatility of its Flare project, but that companies like Avaya, who bravely transcend arbitrary market barriers, are the true innovators in the marketplace, pushing technology forward. In fact, without companies transcending the bounds of their own comfortable niches, just think of the products we would be without.

To be fair to Alcatel-Lucent, the company clearly recognizes the potential of tablet devices in the business communications market, but has made it clear that such tablet device development should be left to more skilled hands, to those who are already developing tablets.

That being said, I simply cannot conceive of AL’s reasons for lambasting both Avaya and Cisco for their efforts unless either AL is desperately trying to cover up the fact that it has no plans in the works to integrate tablets or a communications software suite into its own unified communications offerings or that AL executives are so short-sighted that they have failed to recognize that often times the greatest innovations come from non-traditional sources.

Why should the likes of Avaya and Cisco have to depend on Android or iPad manufacturers to develop a communications suite, when it’s Avaya and Cisco who have the knowledge regarding how best to integrate a tablet into their existing communication solutions? It just doesn’t make sense.

Beyond that, I do find it humorous that Alcatel-Lucent executives, like many of the rest of us to be fair, clearly misunderstands Avaya’s Flare experience. Instead of referring to one single tablet device, Avaya’s Flare refers to an entire software suite that businesses can run on tablets. While the suite is currently only available on Avaya’s tablet, the company announced that it will be making Flare available on tablets that run Apple’s iOS, Windows, Android, and RIM’s QNX operating systems later this year.

While I question the purpose behind the verbal jousting with Avaya and Cisco, more to the point I have to question AL’s logic. Just look at today’s “traditional” tablet manufacturers and you’ll see a host of companies who, by AL’s reasoning, have no business being in the mobile market.

In Google we have a search engine company, one that notably failed several times in the mobile market before Android took off, and in Apple we have a computer company that decided to make inroads into the mobile market over a decade ago. Without either of these companies looking to push the boundaries of their expertise, the mobile market would be nothing like it is today.

In my mind, we should be applauding the likes of Avaya and Cisco for their attempts at bringing their communication expertise to the tablet market, especially when the market has yet to produce anything worthy of being labelled a business tablet. Simply put, its innovation like this that truly pushes the market forward. Now please tell us Alcatel-Lucent, how have you pushed the market forward lately?

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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{ 1 comment }

Dave Watts June 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

IMO, the Cius is the only obvious choice as a tablet for business. From enterprise management to security, no matter what 3rd party apps and add-ons are spewed forth as afterthoughts to attempt to line up the iPad (Playbook, Touch, etc) with enterprise, the Cius is the clear answer.

David Watts
NYC Area IT Mgmt
http://DoingMoreWithLess.info for free Cius

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