Cisco Rival Juniper Sees Big Market Growth Ahead

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Juniper Networks executives say they expect their market opportunity to grow more than 60 percent over the next three years as the company offers more advanced network equipment, going after Cisco's stronghold, and enters new markets like mobile security

NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) - Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE:JNPR) said it expects its market opportunity to grow more than 60 percent over the next three years, as it launches more advanced network equipment and enters new markets like mobile security.

Juniper's target market is likely to grow to $66 billion in 2013 from $41 billion in 2010 as new products like its QFabric data center systems boost sales, Chief Financial Officer Robyn Denholm told a financial analyst meeting.

She also reiterated the company's long-term revenue growth target of 20 percent or more a year.

Juniper has been recently been stepping up competition against its bigger rival Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) with new products for corporate data centers as well as mobile security systems. It previously focused on selling routers and switches to phone service providers.

"We have large and growing addressable markets, and more importantly, we're investing and entering new markets," Denholm said.

She shrugged off concerns about profitability after Cisco recently shocked Wall Street with weak margins.

Juniper will try to gain share but not by lowering its prices, Denholm said, forecasting its gross margins to stay at around 66 to 68 percent in the long term compared to 67.5 percent in 2010.

She also said sales to service providers, still its main customer base, were growing faster than financial analysts expected.

Expectations it was winning share from rivals like Cisco and hopes that an economic recovery was boosting corporate technology spending have lifted Juniper shares in the past year. They closed at $43.76 on Thursday, up 52 percent year-on-year.

Juniper's fourth-quarter revenue rose 26 percent to $1.19 billion, beating the Street's average forecast. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)