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LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners

Ray Le Maistre
10/16/2007
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NEW YORK -- The winners of this year's Leading Lights awards were named Monday night at a gala dinner held in the luxurious surroundings of Manhattan's Japonais Restaurant.

With the sushi devoured and wine flowing, the attending throng heard how the hundreds of entries had been scrutinized by the judges, comprising Heavy Reading analysts and Light Reading editors, and shortlists picked. (See Leading Lights Finalists .)

They also heard how this year's awards included the inaugural Readers' Choice: Person of the Year accolade, chosen, in part, by Light Reading's discerning readers.

Without further ado, we'll start with that category.

  • Readers' Choice: Person of the Year: Awarded to the person who attracted the most votes from our readers, who were asked to choose the individual who contributed most to the business of next-generation communications in the past year.

    Jagdeep Singh, CEO, Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN)

    Singh's optical firm, which held its IPO in June and already plans to raise more cash, is one of the most talked about in the business. (See Infinera Goes Out – And Up and Infinera Aims to Raise $113M.)

    And it's clear that LR's readers believe he has done a lot to change the face of optical networking in the past year, as he attracted nearly 53 percent of the readers' votes, leaving Tech Mahindra Ltd. 's CEO Vineet Nayyar (16 percent of the votes) and Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) (15.7 percent), way behind in the silver and bronze positions.

  • Best Investment Potential (Public Company): This award went to the public company that represents the best long-term potential return on investment by virtue of solid management, product development, and market growth potential.

    Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)

    This leading maker of cable and data networking gear trades at a discount to the market, with a price/earnings ratio of 10, so it has got plenty of room to move. Arris is also now perceived as a leading consolidator of cable networking gear -– that may be weighing on the stock now, but we think it will pay off later.

  • Best New Product (Public Company): This award went to the public company that has developed a market-leading product that, through engineering and technical excellence, best enables the deployment of profitable next-generation telecommunications services.

    Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform

    The Fujitsu team isn't flashy, but they know optical transport. The Flashwave 9500 proves that point by offering Sonet/SDH, optical switching, and Ethernet transport all in a single device that was built from scratch. The 9500 is currently in trials with carriers, and we've heard it's a frontrunner for Verizon's "god box" packet optical RFP. The packet/optical space is hot, and the 9500 looks like it's come along at just the right time.

  • Best New Service (Public Company): This award went to the public service provider or carrier that has most successfully deployed a market-leading, revenue-generating service based on next-generation telecommunications technology.

    Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) Virtual Private LAN Service

    With the first nationwide rollout of its VPLS, the carrier's Verizon Enterprise Solutions division is very well placed to capitalize on the shift enterprises are making from legacy Frame Relay and ATM services to Ethernet connections. Verizon's service meets one of the key criteria demanded by business users with nationwide coverage in the U.S., and has also laid the groundwork to expand this service globally in 2008, which truly sets it apart in scale.

  • Best M&A Strategy (Public Company): This award went to the public company that has consistently demonstrated good timing, judgment, and execution in high-profile acquisitions.

    Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)

    Ericsson opened its purse late last year and acquired a string of companies -- Redback Networks Inc. , Entrisphere Inc. , Tandberg Television , Mobeon AB , LHS Group , and Drutt Corp. –- that have made it a major competitor in the IP routing, IPTV, and broadband fixed access sectors, adding to its strengths in mobile networks and managed/outsourced services. And it only cost $4.2 billion...

  • Best Marketing (Public Company): This award went to the public company that has best communicated a specific technology vision and/or business proposition to customers and investors, especially in cases where the company has defined and led the market.

    Nortel Networks Ltd.

    Like it or loathe it, PBT (Provider Backbone Transport) has been one of the major telecom industry talking points of the past year, and that's largely down to Nortel's efforts. As well as shouting about its early PBT wins and developments, it created the Carrier Ethernet Ecosystem, which brings together vendors from the chip level all the way up to control-plane software that want to play a role in PBT's development. Nortel is pushing hard for the technology, and it's gotten the entire industry to at least listen, even if they don't like what they hear.

  • Top IPO or M&A Candidate (Private Company): Awarded to the private company that most clearly has the management, products, and financial stability to launch a successful IPO or be acquired on its own terms within the next 12 months.

    RGB Networks Inc.

    The cable sector is hot for acquisitions -- that's one factor in favor of RGB Networks. But the video processing company is building the foundation for a possible IPO as well. Customers include the big hitters you'd want to see: Charter Communications Inc. , Cox Communications Inc. , and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -– and Comcast Interactive Capital is an investor. The company isn't profitable yet but expects to be there next year, with revenues of around $60 million.

  • Best New Product (Private Company): Awarded to the company that has developed a market-leading product that, through engineering and technical excellence, best enables the deployment of profitable next-generation telecommunications services.

    ip.access Ltd. 's Oyster 3G

    The Oyster 3G femtocell helps operators provide cellular coverage and capacity in homes, while pocketing a few bucks for better service and more data usage. As the first femtocell to use HSDPA, the Oyster 3G allows downloads of up to 7.6 Mbit/s into the home on mobile devices and radio-enabled laptops. That's cutting edge and cool, while still being a potential game-changer for mobile operators.

  • Best New Service (Private Company): Awarded to the service provider or carrier that has most successfully deployed a market-leading, revenue-generating service based on next-generation telecommunications technology.

    BitGravity Inc. 's Smart CDN

    BitGravity has entered the increasingly competitive content delivery network (CDN) market to challenge larger players with its custom-built server and software combo for high-def content delivery. BitGravity says its approach trims hops and reroutes, allowing its CDN to perform at speeds roughly four times faster than its rivals.

  • Best Marketing (Private Company): Awarded to the company that has best communicated a specific technological vision and/or business proposition to customers and investors, especially in cases where the company has defined and led the market.

    Brix Networks Inc.

    This year Brix hammered away at its message –- "Service Quality Matters" -– through viral marketing campaigns, event marketing, Webinars, and tradeshows. The message appears to be working, as Brix's sales grew 50 percent from 2006 to 2007 and are in line to grow another 50 percent this year.

    Thanks to all the companies who entered and congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

    — The Staff, Light Reading

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    Pete Baldwin
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    Pete Baldwin,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:43 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    Surprised that Jagdeep won out for Person of the Year. I'm not saying it was a poor selection; just saying it's surprising anyone could beat out the lead Tech Mahindra built up. It's a Colorado Rockies-like comeback.
    digits
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    digits,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:43 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    Well, Ericsson's award-winning M&A activity has been in its non-traditional markets - fixed equipment, video gear, post-paid billing etc.

    The profits warning was due to ongoing issues in the mobile infrastructure sector.

    Diversifying appears to be a smart move, no?

    Now, if Ericsson had acquired a bunch of mobile infrastructure businesses.... that would be different.
    bollocks187
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    bollocks187,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:43 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    Well given the profit warning today - it seems while the M&A has not helped the profit situation.
    desiEngineer
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    desiEngineer,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:42 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    bollocks187: The only succesfuly M&A company I have seen is Cisco."

    As many have pointed out, that's because their stealth revenue generation is enterprise - we completely forget their useless acquisitions because they keep generating enterprise revenue to absorb the losses on the provider front. They sit on $18B of cash, not primarily generated from their provider products, and buy back stock to maintain the strength, etc. So it's hardly fair to compare Cisco to ERIC or ALU.

    MSFT is the same. Their acquisitions are nothing stellar, and yet they rake in the money on their windows and office products and continue to bolster their cash/stock position.

    -desi
    bollocks187
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    bollocks187,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:42 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    True Ray,

    But it is perhaps a trend for big communications companies that go on a buying spree in other markets, spend and then have a stock melt down due to revenue.

    Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel, 3Com, Siemens, Marconi now Erik

    The only succesfuly M&A company I have seen is Cisco.
    gocowboys
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    gocowboys,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:41 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    I think that Cisco has had a number of M&A blunders (like a number of companies). Personally, I believe that Cisco is a truly outstanding company...but let's consider their wall of shame for a moment:

    Pirelli Optical - Maybe Cisco would have been better off getting into the tire business than long haul optical. This one was a bust from the get go.

    Monterey Networks - All marketing fluff...the product never worked.
    Pete Baldwin
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    Pete Baldwin,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:39 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    btw, we've now put up a brief poll related to the awards.

    http://www.lightreading.com/su...
    bollocks187
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    bollocks187,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 3:00:38 PM
    re: LR Names 2007 Leading Lights Winners
    All valid points about Cisco.....there is a list on the web......but they have survived because they have the cushion in the 1st place....no other has succesfully done the M&A ... no cushion.
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