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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Juniper gears up for networking showdown with Cisco post-HPE acquisition

The gloves are off for Juniper Networks as it positions itself for a heated rivalry with Cisco following its $14 billion acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Tom Wilburn, Juniper's global VP of campus and branch networking made this clear at the company's AI-Native Now 2024 event in London.

Juniper is the creator of Mist AI, a technology lauded for its rapid growth within the Wi-Fi business. The AI tool is currently number three in the market, trailing only Cisco and HPE itself. It explains the two companies' confidence as they embark on dethroning Cisco.

And while it’s HPE paying the big bucks, Wilburn has noted that this is going to be what people call “reverse acquisition.” Juniper, led by CEO Rami Rahim, will take over the HPE Networking, and fold that into Juniper to form a new networking business. This consolidated entity will leverage Juniper's AI expertise alongside HPE's established presence and hardware.

Regulatory Hurdles and Pre-Merger Competition

Wilburn said that the deal is almost done. “This is supposed to close at the end of this year or early next year,” What’s remaining is regulatory approval.

“It [the deal] has been approved by the shareholders of both companies. HPE has raised the $14 billion so that they can write the check. And it’s subject to right now the governments in the U.K., the EU, and particularly the U.S. to simply say, this is going to be good for consumers. This is actually going to increase competition in the market and not decrease it, which we’re confident it will,” he said.

Until then, Juniper will continue to compete with HPE Aruba, which Wilburn says creates a funny situation.

“Until [the deal is] approved by the government, we cannot come together. And by law, we have to continue to compete. So you can imagine what this is like right now for an Aruba salesperson, when the [customer] CEO says, ‘Hey, I think I ... like this one better. And I’m going to have them run the show,'” he joked.


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