Goodnight John, Goodnight Nortel, Goodnight MoonBrisebois-45X64.jpg
Posted by Mitch Brisebois

Nortel has been dying since they cut the head off the chicken - back in the late 90s. The head of a chicken makes up only 5% of its weight… so in business-speak - focus on your core units and get rid of distractions, right? Wrong.
Nortel grew by re-inventing the power of networks. To demonstrate this power, they once had all the components: switches, software, transport, management, and end-user terminals. In the 80s terminals meant phones. In the 90s they were smart phones, and then internet appliances. We called it "the network edge". The Vista 350 telephone helped to demonstrate the value of caller ID and interactive services.
This in turn encouraged telcos to upgrade switching software.
Nortel decided to rid itself of the end-user terminal business, not because it wasn't profitable, but because it just didn't make enough money.
This short-sightedness prevented them from showing remarkable end-to-end solutions. For example, Nortel was the first to demonstrate a working 3g network back in 1998 - but couldn't prove the business case because it no longer had terminals to demonstrate services. Jobe and I still have a couple 3G services patents pending in limbo from our old Nortel days!
Yesterday, CTO John Roese announced he's quitting. That's not encouraging. In his tenure Roese pushed innovation in these areas:
unified communications, LTE, web 3.0 collaboration, open source voice, and agile communications environments. This is all great stuff for carrier-grade opportunities, but the missing link is still the inability to demonstrate an end-to-end value proposition.
You've got to help customers see what they're going to be selling. In current lingo - "what's the user experience?"

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