Though price competition and a weak public sector made the first three months of 2011 difficult for Ethernet switch vendors, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks still managed to increase sales and market share, according to data from market research company Canalys.
Overall revenue was down 8.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to US$4.6 billion, even though vendors sold more ports. A key factor behind this development was aggressive competition between market leader Cisco Systems and challengers HP and Juniper, according to Canalys.
Cisco is still the largest Ethernet switch vendor by a large margin. But the company has been struggling lately, and its market share in terms of revenue fell from 73.1 percent a year ago to 68.2 percent.
Cisco is facing intense pressure on both its core switch and overall enterprise networking businesses, according to Matthew Ball, director of Enterprise Services at Canalys. But the company isn't going to sit back and see its market share continue to erode, and shouldn't be underestimated, he said.
HP, which acquired 3Com in 2010, increased its market share in revenue from 11.1 percent to 14.1 percent year-over-year, thanks to strong performances in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as Asia Pacific.
Juniper also increased revenue market share, from 1.8 percent to 2.4 percent, thanks to the growing momentum of its EX family of switches. It is now the third largest Ethernet switch vendor. A sales increase helped it grow past Brocade, which is now in fourth place. Brocade's market share was the same as last year, 2.2 percent.
Fifth place D-Link also did well, but on a smaller scaler, expanding its market share from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
From a technology point of view, the continuing growth in 10-Gigabit Ethernet port shipments marked the first quarter's bright spot, with a 70 percent year-on-year increase.
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