Going once, going twice … Network General, sold for only $205M !!!

NetScout just picked up Network General at the auction house for
only $205M. Their intention is obvious, lacking in deep packet analysis
themselves; they are trying to round out their product offering with a
protocol analyzer. On that account, who can blame them? But with what?
Network General’s Sniffer software is antiquated. While software and
user interface technologies have come a long way, especially in light
of Web 2.0, Network General has not had a major release of Sniffer in 7
years. The only real value in this purchase is their market share, and
certainly not the technical leadership that customers should require.

While this might look good on paper to some, the problem arises when
you realize that the real losers in this game of hot potato are the
customers. Network General’s products are not cheap, and in the past
NetScout sold a lot of expensive products to big Enterprise IT
departments. And even though there are much better and less expensive
products on the market, it is still hard to convince upper management
to move on, and dump 20 years of investment. However, over time, as
Network General has failed to keep up with the needs of the market,
their customer base has been forced to supplement their tools with
other vendor’s products. This has been necessary because Network
General’s products are not extensible.

And this is why the acquisition of Network General by NetScout does
not have any synergy. The two products are very different, old, and
have no API’s. So how are they going to integrate? It will be hard, and
if they do it will take so long, that in the accelerated time-space
continuum of the network industry, others will step in and offer their
customers better and less expensive solutions. The lack of API’s on
both sides also makes it difficult for these products to integrate with
other solutions and with each other. And if you read much about the
industry today, companies want integrated solutions because they want
greater ROI.

So in the end, who really benefits? Hopefully customers will realize
that this is merely a fire sale and the cost of restoration is just too
high. Rebuilding with open, integrated, and extensible solutions – like
those from WildPackets – is far more cost-effective, both now and in
the years to come.

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