Whitebox Switching Compared to the Smartphone Market

From this post by Ivan Pepelnjak around the usage of no-name laptops vs. Apple products by industry pundits espousing the value of whitebox switching:

There’s a simple litmus test: look at the laptop they’re using. Is it a no-name x86 clone or a brand name laptop? Is it running Linux or Windows… or are they using a MacBook with OSX because it works better than any alternative (even Windows runs better on a MacBook than on a low-cost craptop). Finally, are they using Android on a low-cost ODM phone or an iPhone?

This is a good argument. If we extrapolate this a bit, we can move the whitebox switching discussion to the current smartphone market. We can even compare the current whitebox switches to Android phones. Some people may want to go a step further and compare existing switch vendors to Apple. We’re lead to believe switches from Arista, Cisco, Juniper and others are like Apple products in this argument. But I think this is grossly incorrect. Arista, Cisco, Juniper and other existing vendors have been around for a while. If we’re comparing whitebox switching to smartphones, I’d argue the existing vendors are closer to Blackberry than Apple. We have yet to see the Apple of switching emerge. The only interesting difference in this market is that the Apple of switching is arriving after the Android’s of switching. The question remains how that will affect the market long-term.

Lets just hope the existing vendors don’t end up like Blackberry.