Cisco CEO John Chambers predicts that consolidation will take place among vendors of networking and IT products, but he is comfortable with his own company's position and appears unconcerned about talk of a tie-up between Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) and Juniper Networks.
"You are going to see a combination of companies occurring," Chambers told attendees at a media roundtable in Barcelona on Tuesday, in response to a question about how he sees the rumoured acquisition of Juniper by NSN playing out.
Indeed, he forecasts that we will see a game of "musical chairs" playing out in the industry.
As the industry moves towards all-IP, the way forward is to focus on supplying network architectures, rather than standalone solutions, Chambers said. It is becoming "a hard market" for providers of boxes, for standalone players, and for those supplying white label kit, he said.
Cisco has proved its "ability to hold market share," he added.
"Now people are going to play our game."
It's difficult for companies to combine, Chambers added. Furthermore, Juniper was unsuccessful in its move to the enterprise and "the jury's out" on whether it will stay in security.
"I like our hand a lot, lot better," he concluded.
Chambers' comments came after NSN CEO Rajiv Suri on Sunday refused to be drawn on specifics about its plans for the future of its partnership with Juniper.
"We have a partnership with Juniper and we will look at ways to expand that partnership," Suri told a press and analyst briefing. "I'm not opposed to M&A," he added. "We don't have to do a deal for the sake of a deal…but we'll look at opportunities."