Thierry Bonhomme, CEO of Orange Business Services, has warned Ericsson and Cisco that their designs on capturing the enterprise market are unlikely to turn out how they wish.
The vendors announced last week that they plan to generate $1 billion (€927 million) of new revenues by 2018 as part of a wide-ranging tech and business partnership.
While they plan to target operators in the first instance, the two companies said they aimed to target the enterprise market as part of a second phase.
But Bonhomme, who oversees a business with over €6 billion tied up in with multinational corportations, said: “Vendors know that their legacy positions will be challenged by newcomers entering not through the hardware but through the software.
“What I understand is that, as in any company where those challenges occur, [Ericsson and Cisco] would like to protect their traditional businesses while proposing the same services that they fear could be offered in the ecosystem.
"But it never happens this way, it never works.”
The CEO said having lived through the SMS versus OTT messaging and PSTN versus VoIP debates, this was a similar story that he knows “very well”.
Bonhomme added: “It’s not by reinforcing your legacy position that you… address the challenges of the future.”
On Monday, Ericsson felt compelled to release a statement denying that merger or acquisition discussions had taken place between the two vendors.
Bonhomme, speaking last week, said: “There is a big difference between what a press release says and what actually happens.”
He added: “For the enterprise market, 'go to market' counts. It requires more than infrastructure and a services platform...It requires customer intimacy, the capacity to listen and respond to a given situation.”
OBS returned to growth in the third quarter as revenues rose 0.5 percent.
Click here to read our exclusive Q&A with Thierry Bonhomme