Lawsuit: Cisco blocks outsider gear maintenance

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A new lawsuit filed on behalf of equipment services firm Multiven alleges that Cisco Systems engages in anti-trust behavior by limiting post-warranty access to software updates and bug patches to customers who subscribe to Cisco's Smartnet maintenance service.

That alleged practice--Cisco denies it--blocks some outsider firms from performing maintenance work and providing substitute solutions for those customers. The lawsuit cites a previous District Court decision in New Jersey in a case against Avaya, where it was "ruled that tying software updates to service contracts is an anti-competitive practice," according to Light Reading.

We have entered an age in which equipment support services and other kinds of services are increasingly important to the bottom lines of the major gear vendors. It's hard to believe that other equipment vendors haven't tried to pull some variation on what Cisco is being accused of--or have they? The outcome of this case could have broad and timely implications for the rest of the telecom industry.

For more:
- Light Reading has coverage

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