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Cisco Spending Millions of Dollars Secretly Purchasing New Juniper Products 120

FrankPoole (1736680) writes According to a CRN investigative report, Cisco has been spending millions of dollars over several years to secretly purchase Juniper Networks' products, including new QFabric and MX series routers, for use in its 'competitive analysis lab,' where the products are tested and reverse engineered. According to the report, some of the Juniper products purchased by Cisco were still in beta and not yet commercially released. In addition, CRN discovered that a main source for Cisco to obtain these Juniper products was, ironically, a company called Torrey Point Group, a fast-growing VAR that was awarded Juniper's Part of the Year in 2011.
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Cisco Spending Millions of Dollars Secretly Purchasing New Juniper Products

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  • And.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:00PM (#47223147)
    Dogs lick their balls. What's new?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:09PM (#47223239)

    Does anyone really think Juniper doesnt't purchase Cisco gear in a similar fashion? Corporate behavior like this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:09PM (#47223247) Homepage
    Amazing how current patent law is so useless it can't stop blatant reverse engineering, yet it can stifle so much real innovation.
  • Re:Twas Ever Thus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ken D ( 100098 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:13PM (#47223289)

    This is not news, it was SOP back in the 90's to get your hands on the competitors' new products and figure out how to sell against them, i.e. figure out their weaknesses.

  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:19PM (#47223371) Homepage

    If it wasn't for legal reverse engineering, most of us would be sitting in front of $2000 IBM PCs.

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:25PM (#47223451)

    I've never worked in a place that did not have a competitive analysis lab and that did not have a tear-down process where everyone's products were looked at top to bottom, literally dissected, x-rayed, etc. It's used by everyone from design engineers on future products, to supply chain analysts to lawyers looking for patent infringements.

    It's a good practice, too often companies get dominated by a few senior people with strong personalities who refuse to change. Show them a landscape of products were things are done differently, and with evidence that those things are working BETTER, and you can sometimes unclog some old-fartism. It's rare to see products with idea that hadn't been thought of before, but frequently you see implemented ideas that were shot down in your own org by someone.

    I don't care how prerelease something is, if you put it out there expect that your competitors will see it.

  • What about pre-release/beta products that aren't commercially available and haven't started shipping yet?

    Even better! Really if that's true then the VAR was clearly given too much trust in who it decides to sell pre-release products to. They should go to established customers with a good history of cooperation, not just anyone who asks. All I can say about this story is "and I bet Juniper is doing the same thing".

    I'd guess that Cisco is an established customer with a good history of cooperation -- they're definitely not just "anyone who asks."

    I'd also guess that the VAR resells Cisco as well as Juniper, and probably supplies Juniper with Cisco's kit as well.

  • Re:Twas Ever Thus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:44PM (#47223667) Journal

    I can't believe Juniper just handed over their VARs beta products without some sort of an NDA. That just seems utterly bizarre and inept.

  • Re:And.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sabri ( 584428 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:01PM (#47224315)

    I figure Juniper will likely rethink their VAR relationship with Cisco's front company, though.

    Why? Juniper knows this might to happen. So why not make sure that Cisco pays top price rather than getting it from Ebay?

    QFX has been with customers for a long time now so I don't see a problem with that either. If a VAR can resell it to Cisco, it has been with early adopter customers for a while

    And what I don't understand is the part about reverse engineering. Yes, that may take place. But there is a very good other reason why every large vendor of routing equipment has competitive products in their engineering lab: interoperability. I have worked for two large vendors and have been in the labs of a few others and I have seen many interoperability labs. In fact, at one point in my career I was assigned to literally drag some equipment across the street to our direct competitor, install it in their lab and help them get some interoperability working (this was obviously to satisfy some issues we had with a large mutual customer). And for those interested, I crossed Holger Way and didn't stay in the parking lot :)

    Not to mention the fact that vendors ship a shitload of beta products every six months to the EANTC interoperability tests [eantc.de] and other marketing events.

  • Re:And.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @08:44PM (#47226385)

    Thanks for the comments, but I believe you misunderstood my post.

    The Title of the Slashdot post is "Cisco Spending Millions of Dollars Secretly Purchasing New Juniper Products". The primary topic of your article is Torrey Point, but here it's changed to Cisco. Your article was spun to make Cisco look bad on Slashdot, and a paragraph was plucked out of the article to extend that point.

    In other words, the primary purpose of my post was not your article but the Slashdot post and title. Whoever posted the article here wrote a title to ensure maximum exposure while posting the link.

    That said, your article is not free of bias. The title "In the Shadows" indicates the negative connotation, but I believe it's directed more at Torrey Point. It's hard to write objectively, especially considering Torrey Points actions.

    Where the article has some spin (just a bit, nothing like the Slashdot summary) is that Cisco is painted as doing things abnormal in the industry. I'd bet dollars to donuts that Juniper buys millions of dollars worth of Cisco products every few years, just like Ericsson buys competitive products, and Alkatel buys competitive products, and Microsoft buys competitive products, etc...

    Most of the time these purchases are not for reverse engineering. These purchases are either for benchmarking or compatibility testing.

    A few qualifiers would have made it more objective, but hell I'm not your editor and don't get paid to write.

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