HP Buying Aruba Networks – What Would It Mean?

Here’s a little known fact: HP wireless is one of the biggest players in Wi-Fi. They have been for years and it is in part because they were already implemented in many organizations as the switching infrastructure. It just made sense to add on HP wireless for the 802.11 solution.

Now, to be clear, HP wireless products have, frankly, been very good Wi-Fi products. They work. They get the job done. However, they have garnered little to no buzz in the Wi-Fi experts community because they have not been the innovators. In most cases, they have been a, “Yeah, we do that too.” vendor, which means they do most of the good stuff other vendors do, but they are seldom the innovators. To be clear, this is a valid industry strategy. Many tech companies have been consistently successful by simply implementing the best of what others do. There is nothing wrong with that strategy and it typically becomes a familiarity or price sell for them. Now, if the rumors come true and HP acquires Aruba Networks, this is a big move and could actually lead to some very interesting innovative scenarios.

This would be massively bigger than Cisco acquiring Meraki. This is more like GM acquiring Nissan. This is a top five player seeking to acquire a top five player. As of early 2014, the top five WLAN vendors by revenue market size, per IDC, were:

  • Cisco
  • Aruba
  • Ruckus
  • HP
  • Motorola

When Cisco acquired Meraki, they were acquiring a strong player who was best known for their management interface and certainly not for their hardware. As HP looks at Aruba Networks, they are getting a hardware and software powerhouse that could place the HP/Aruba brand for growth and real competition with Cisco. Right now, cisco still outsells the other four top five combined. In fact, they outsell all other enterprise vendors combined by some measurements.

Of course, only time will tell if this merger will happen, but it could bring some exciting and interesting new things to the Wi-Fi arena if it does. We’ll keep our eyes on it for sure!