Juniper, Polycom partner to battle Cisco-Tandberg
* To jointly sell, manage videoconferencing
* Both companies face challenge from Cisco-Tandberg
NEW YORK Jan 22 (Reuters) - Network equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N) and videoconferencing company Polycom Inc (PLCM.O) on Friday announced a partnership to jointly sell and manage video services, to compete with industry leader Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O).
Cisco last year announced plans to buy Norway's Tandberg, the world's leading company specializing in Internet-based video communications -- a growing industry that is helping companies communicate more efficiently with customers and between operations.
Analysts say Polycom, Tandberg's main rival, risks losing market share unless it broadens its sales reach through partnerships or is acquired.
Polycom Chief Executive Bob Hagerty said the company's advantage was the openness of its system and ability to work with a wide range of technology vendors including Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and IBM (IBM.N).
"Nobody really wants to be locked in to one way of working on a proprietary network with one vendor," Hagerty told Reuters. "What this allows is best in class, and investment protection on what you already have."
Polycom is set to announce more partnerships over the next several months, he said.
The move also comes as companies are looking for more simple and cost-efficient ways to run their technology operations. This has put pressure on communications equipment makers and service vendors to either consolidate or seek sales partnerships.
Cisco's expansion into a large number of services and products, including video and consumer products as well as wireless technology, is seen a key challenge for Juniper, which is highly focused on network equipment.
The companies said joint services will be available through global service providers in mid-2010, after beta tests are performed around the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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