VC-Backed Companies Could Be Next On H-P's Shopping List

When Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) announced the $2.7 billion purchase of 3Com Corp., it let the world know that H-P intends to compete fully with Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) in the corporate data center.

With its strength in Ethernet, 3Com (COMS) gives HP a major piece of the pie, but it still needs a few more slices if it wants to be a one-stop-shop for data centers. One such slice it might go after next is application acceleration, said Catharine Trebnick, a senior research analyst with Avian Securities.

Application acceleration appliances speed up the delivery of programs from a data center to the people using it, using methods such as balancing the workload across machines.

Prior to HP’s announcement yesterday, many analysts speculated publicly traded F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV), a leader in this space, was a likely acquisition target, but most now have soured on that idea.

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