Arbor Networks Acquisition Is a Tale of Two Cities—and a Strategic Move Into Wider World of Wireless

8/12/10Follow @gthuang

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quality of its team. David Munson, the dean of engineering at the University of Michigan, calls Jahanian “a terrific entrepreneur.” He adds that the professor “was instrumental in building Arbor Networks into a premier network security provider.”

For his part, Jahanian sees the Danaher acquisition as a natural next step in Arbor’s broader evolution. “It’s another inflection point,” he says, and it will help the firm “expand into a new emerging market.”

That market is wireless and mobile. Up to this point, Arbor has been more focused on Internet service providers. But as Doherty explains, voice, data, and other communication streams (including WiMax and LTE broadband access technologies) are being woven together into an “all-Internet-protocol fabric”—and that means these streams, which used to run separately, now need a unified security system. Jahanian sees that as a “terrific opportunity for the company.”

As for Arbor’s continuing impact on the Michigan and Massachusetts innovation communities, Doherty didn’t give many specifics. But he said the company will “continue to grow our presence in Ann Arbor and in Chelmsford.” Jahanian calls Arbor Networks “a wonderful example of how the innovation economy can work when you have universities and entrepreneurs aligned behind great technology,” and how “research funded in universities can result in a powerful engine for economic growth.”

Meanwhile, U-M’s Munson says he is “heartened that the acquisition of Arbor Networks calls for Arbor’s research and development activity to remain in Ann Arbor. This is a cornerstone for Ann Arbor’s rapidly developing software and networking industry.”

Looking back, it’s certainly interesting to see that Arbor’s two-pronged geography approach was successful. We’ll see if Danaher can keep it going—and help the company achieve even wider impact.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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