Linksys Resellers Now Under Cisco Systems Program

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Cisco Systems will retain Linksys' preferred pricing for reseller channel partners, as well as the Linksys demo program. VARs should also know that the Linksys brand will remain intact at Cisco Systems. The changes are part of a greater focus on the small business part of SMB at Linksys Cisco Systems.

As expected, Cisco Systems has digested the Linksys reseller partner program, making it part of Cisco Systems' existing reseller partner program focused on small and midsize businesses.

The move creates a single point of contact for all of Cisco's second-tier partners, now numbering about 60,000.

"Partners who wanted to focus on the whole portfolio had to deal with two separate programs," says Andrew Sage, Cisco vice president of worldwide small business sales, a new position within the company. "We now have a single partner program, so it's simpler to work with us."

Sage says Linksys partners will continue to get the previous pricing promotions and now will also get access to additional promotions that will give them an advantage over non-Cisco registered partners.

"Linksys also had a great demo program, so we are going to continue to use that in the way that Linksys had implemented it," he says.

The Linksys brand will also remain intact, according to Sage.

Cisco's move is part of a greater focus by the company on small business. In addition to creating Sage's new position, Cisco has also created a segment council headed by Sue Bostrom, chief marketing officer; Keith Goodwin, channel chief; and Ian Pennell, senior vice president of the small business technology group.

"This is the first time we've had a global leader for sales in channels focused exclusively on small business," Sage says of his new position. "We think going to market in small business requires a new level of alignment between fields and technology groups."

In early July Cisco also created a small-business-specific engineering group, led by Pennell, who Sage calls "a rock star engineer. We've integrated Linksys' small business team into Ian's team, so now we have one group of engineers creating a portfolio for small business."

Cisco first announced plans to acquire Linksys in March 2003. Cisco has been moving towards creating a tighter integration of Cisco and Linksys channel programs.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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