Are These Companies Really on the Endangered Species List?

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


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Channel Insider’s 2009 Market Pulse report identified the top 10 IT vendors that may not survive the recession. The list has gotten much attention, but is it the right list? Weigh in on this discussion.

If you want to get people’s attention, conventional wisdom says sex sells. The exception to that rule is during tough times when anxiety is riding high and people are looking for the next shoe to drop. That’s probably the reason why "Dire Predictions: Tech Companies That Won’t Be Here in 2010" was a monster hit on a global scale.

Since our initial report from the Channel Insider 2009 Market Pulse Survey went live Sunday evening, tens of thousands of people have scanned the list and analysis of the top 10 (there are actually 12 because of a tie) companies that solution providers told us would either go out of business or be acquired in 2009.

The feedback has been overwhelming and engaging. Rumors of McAfee’s desires to sell out to a larger partner have swirled around Silicon Alley for years. Scuttlebutt over a Google acquisition of Salesforce.com has been running around since the search giant started partnering with business application vendors to integrate its engine in their analytics. And CA, which is still recovering from a drawn-out Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and the conviction of its former CEO Sanjay Kumar for accounting fraud, has been on everyone’s death watch list for years.

Of course, there were the obvious vendors that made the list. Sun Microsystems, which is bleeding cash and market share, made the list in spite of its restructuring efforts. Advanced Micro Devices, which recently won government approval to split into two companies, has been tittering on the brink ever since Intel retook the innovation initiative in the processor wars. And Novell and Citrix Systems, to some, look like they’re on life support because of their unenviable positions against Microsoft and other stronger competitors.

But people were surprised by some of the other companies on the list. Juniper Networks—the second largest data networking and security vendor is healthy, growing and, more than likely, in acquisition mode—was in the middle of the pack. So was high-flying virtualization vendor VMware, which continues to own the virtualization market (at least until Microsoft gets Hyper-V out), and NetApp, which remains strong and the only remaining pure-play storage vendor.

With few exceptions, most of these dire predictions defied reality. While anything is plausible, it’s the potential and practical that matters. Will Juniper Networks dry up and blow away in the next 12 months? Will Check Point suddenly abandon its stalwart position in the security market? Will AMD stop processing before the end of the earth’s latest trip around the sun? The answer is, in most cases, probably not.

What the Dire Prediction’s list does reflect is a lack of confidence or a presumption that these companies may not have what it takes for long-haul success. The world is evolving rapidly, money and credit is in tight supply, uncertainty reigns supreme, and technology needs are changing.

Perhaps it would help to look at the remaining companies that didn’t make the top of the list, as some people suggested. After all, Channel Insider suggested nearly two dozen vendors on the survey, and also accepted unsolicited submissions from survey participants.

The following is the full list:








 Check Point     








6. (T) 



6. (T)



6. (T)

 Juniper Networks 



 Sun Microsystems  



 Citrix Systems  











12. (T)



12. (T) 












16. (T)



16. (T)

 Cisco Systems  


So the question remains, do these vendors deserve to be on the list? What vendors should be on the list? Who did Channel Insider and its readers miss? And, since this is about perceptions, what should these vendors do to improve how the solution providers perceive their viability?

In the end, a prediction list like this is more about what people think about a particular company’s performance toward them than the likelihood of their going out of business. Let’s discuss. Post your comments below and let’s continue to delve into this issue.

Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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