Nortel: Goodbye Old Friend

After 100 plus years as Canada’s Premier Telecommunication powerhouse, Nortel is de-listing from the TSX and is quietly liquidating itself.  Sadly, the world’s economic woes has tied the Canadian Government’s hands and Nortel could not be saved.   In the past, Canada has clung to Nortel like the US clings to GM.

Unfortunately, Nortel is a case study in poor management, poor execution, and a failed acquisition strategy. How does a company that purchased the likes of Bay Networks, Shasta Networks, and Alteon WebSystems, Inc. fail? Nortel reads like the novel Moby Dick as they perpetually chased Cisco, Ericsson, Lucent, and others to no avail.

Suprisingly, neither Huawei or ZTE have emerged as potential suitors for pieces of this once great company.  While these companies may not need or want Nortel’s technology, they would greatly benefit from Nortel’s reseller channel and name brand recongition.  This may be an indication that these “new” giants are waiting for more tangible signs of a North American recovery prior to jumping in via inorganic means.

Nortel’s exit could not come at a better time for both Cisco and Juniper.  As Cisco’s market share has declined a bit and Juniper has finally “seen the light” within their enterprise division, these companies will certainly commence sales campaigns marketed towards Nortel’s existing customer base.  An Avaya bid for Nortel’s Enteprise Business would do little to impact such a campaing nor would it calm the nerves of exiting customers.

So with a “tip of the cap” I bid Nortel adeu and wish her employees, partners, and customers nothing but the best.   This ends a significant chapter of IT and it was definately a wild ride.

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