You are right about the firewall and bandwidth market, however, you really should look at the low end switch market if you are interested in a commodity market. Two to three years ago switching was high margin business, but today the prices are approaching shared pricing.
The 10/100 switch market is purely a commodity business today. Companies like Intel and 3Com are loosing market share rapidly so they have started slashing prices. There is no real margin to be made in this market. What is LanOptics going to do? I guess the market is telling us...
" The 10/100 switch market is purely a commodity business today. Companies like Intel and 3Com are loosing market share rapidly so they have started slashing prices. There is no real margin to be made in this market. What is LanOptics going to do? I guess the market is telling us... "
This is not exactly true.... There is still a large margin (granted it is coming down) on switched ports (as opposed to group switches that have 8, 12 or 16 ports per switched segment). LanMaker does seem to have an edge in both price, performance and modularity/expandability (at least compared to an equivelant offering from Bay.) I still havent had the time to compare to some of Cisco, Xylan, 3-com and Intell's offerings...
I do agree that there is a massive quantity of competition for the LanMaker line. AND HERE IS WHERE MARKETING WOULD PAY OFF!!! (the caps were aimed at the higher ups at LNOPF)
You claim that LanMaker has an edge in price, performance and modularity/expandability over other networking vendors offerings. That is very strange since the LanMaker's cost per port is significantly higher than any of the major and minor players. 10/100 (the preferred port configuration) port density is very low as well as very expensive.
Now if you compare the LanMaker Chassis to the Catalyst Chassis or the Xylan Chassis you will find very similar pricing per port; however, you do not get anywhere near the performance or flexibility. The LanMaker does not function at Layer 3 today (they have said something about a field upgradeable backbone module), nor does it offer ATM or Gigabit uplinks. The products from Cisco, Bay, 3Com and Xylan all support Layer 3, Gigabit, Trunking, VLANs Q&P, ATM and other options today. So to really get a comparable product you need to look at something from NBase which is 30% of the cost of the LanMaker or one of the standalone Bay, Cisco, 3Com 10/100 switches.
LanMaker is really a low end product with a high end price. Long time LanOptics customers will choose it because they like dealing with LanOptics. New customers would be foolish to purchase the product since they could get better performing products for the same cost or less.
Marketing can help any product. Look at Cisco, they have always had a slightly retarded product in every catagory but their sales and marketing machine pull them through with the rest of the really excellent products. LanOptics lacks a pull through product not to mention the sales or marketing force to sell it.