I had the pleasure of cutting my teeth on 3Com when I moved career to PR in the late 1990s. I remember how it rebranded with the rings logo (that I still don’t get) and shed parts of its business like a serpent shedding its skin.I worked on Palm and CommWorks to name but two of the brands. Unfortunately the company had some problems despite its innovation in consumer networking and PDAs.
3Com was a technology conglomerate, not a technology company; while Cisco prided itself on the speed of assimilating newly acquired companies into the firm, within 48 days of purchase. 3Com on the other hand often competed against itself rather than the hypercompetitive Cisco.
A couple of cases in point, Audrey the internet appliance used an OS from QNX, rather than the PalmOS and despite being a technology licencee and shareholder in TopLayer Networks decided to acquire TippingPoint instead. The world has moved on, the Chinese are building good core network technology and Cisco is moving to higher value software; 3Com is very much the junior partner with Huawei. PR Week has news of 3Com looking to rebrand yet again and try to reclaim its challenger status in the corporate IT marketplace. I hope that they will be successful, but fear that they won’t.