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Juniper offers security line, eyes Cisco's market

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midastouch017   Monday, 02/06/06 02:22:23 AM
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Juniper offers security line, eyes Cisco's market

Mon Feb 6, 2006 12:01 AM ET
By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Communications equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday plans to debut a new line of anti-virus and network security products as it expands beyond network gear and competes with rival Cisco.

UPDATE 4-Juniper profit meets view, outlook disappoints
The company's new line of security products is intended to protect businesses with many branch offices, such as local banks or retail outlets, along with remote workers who connect over the Internet from home or on the road into corporate networks, Juniper said.

This is the latest move by Juniper, which has typically focused on serving big telecommunications carrier customers, to boost its presence in the market for providing networks for individual companies, an area dominated by Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research)

In the past several years, the number of ways for employees to gain access to their companies' networks has proliferated to include not only laptops but also mobile phones, handheld devices and other gadgets.

"You've opened up a number of fronts where you can be infected," said Hitesh Sheth, Juniper's vice president for security products.

Companies like Cisco and Juniper have responded by trying to embed security functions in the network itself rather than forcing customers to rely on individual software programs built into every device that tries to gain access to the network.

Juniper's announcement could help the company succeed in taking market share away from Cisco, said Rob Whiteley, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"It is probably a $2 billion market, and Cisco owns well over half of that," Whiteley estimated.

Juniper is the market leader in providing networking equipment to telecommunications carriers but has lagged behind industry giant Cisco in landing corporate network contracts.

The security product line also could help show that acquisitions it has done in recent years are bearing fruit.

"They acquired NetScreen several years ago and had yet to really come out with a product that was cross-pollinated," Whiteley said of the roughly $4 billion deal done in 2004. "This is proof that their R&D engine hadn't shut down." NetScreen made network security products, including firewalls.

Shares of Juniper are down more than 37 percent since the NetScreen Technologies deal was announced in February 2004.



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