As you know, a very preliminary decision in the Cisco suit went against Arista about a week ago.
At the end of last week Arista implied to Needham that if they lost some of the patent suits it would be no big deal and they could work around it. People on the MF Arista discussion board were rather excited and encouraged by that. I asked, realistically, what else can management say? Can they admit that losing the lawsuit would be catastrophic, and thus:
Scare their customers away?
Make it impossible to hire good talent?
Drive their stock price down and make their present employees stock options worthless?
Drive their stock price down and make acquisitions using stock much more dilutive?
Give the general impression of a sinking ship?
They HAVE TO say that it would be no big deal, even if they didn’t believe it a bit!
Andy (nevercontent) then implied that all Arista has to do is change some commands: Or MAYBE it just isn’t that big of a deal. So they have to change show running config to show my config now. Or Show Interface to Show Interface Port. Juniper has many commands that they changed, but many that are still the same as Cisco. How can Cisco let one company use the command but not allow another? Now let’s say Arista takes the time to make up new commands that are close to what Cisco has but totally different.
I responded making clear that wasn’t implying that it IS a big deal. I have no way of telling if it’s a big deal or not. I was just saying that they have to SAY that it’s no big deal, whether it is no not! That’s a different issue. It just means you can’t bank on what management is currently saying.
Now Andy is a pretty bright guy, BUT, if you were a purchasing agent, would you buy a system from a company that says they may be almost driven out of business if they lose this big lawsuit. How would you get service or spare parts, or problems solved in the future? It’s just easier and safer for the purchasing agent to buy from someone he or she is sure will be here three years from now, even if the product isn’t quite as good. Or if you were an up-and-coming tech guy, would you take a job at a company that might be wiped out in a year or two? No way!
My contention that they have to SAY that it’s no big deal, whether it is or not a big deal in reality, is a different issue than whether it’s true or not. It just means you can’t bank on what they are currently saying about it being no problem if they lose. THAT seems pretty obvious to me. I don’t know how it will turn out and whether they will win or lose the lawsuits, but I think it would be a big mistake to assume it will be a big nothing IF they lose just because management intimates that.
I strongly doubt that they and Cisco would each be paying millions of dollars a quarter in legal fees if it was just a question of changing some wording of commands, and it was not going to matter much if they won or lost. I figure that this may be closer to an existential threat IF they were to totally lose the suit. That’s a big IF, of course, but I wouldn’t totally discount it considering that they lost this first, very preliminary decision.
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