2003 Top Ten: Holiday Songs

What tunes are on the playlists at telecom Xmas parties this year? We listened in, and, er, made up some stuff

December 24, 2003

5 Min Read
2003 Top Ten: Holiday Songs

As holiday cheer fills our hearts this festive season, many are taking time to reflect on the past year's events. We could think of no better way to aid in such reflection than to spin some holiday music and celebrate with coworkers.

So what tunes are battering the industry's eardrums as folk hit the dancefloors at their company parties? We dispatched our spies to report back from the revelries, and here are the most appropriate songs to hit the telecom turntables this Yuletide, starting with the most festive of warbles....

No. 10 "I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Pat BoonePlaying at: SBC Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Corp., and every other firm that announced big layoffs in December (see Headcount: Company Makeover).

Sure, job losses are an inevitability in this business, but to cut someone in December is almost as tacky as Pat Boone's heavy metal album.

No. 9 "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" by The RamonesPlaying at: Sharman Networks Ltd., Verizon, and anyone else in a tiff with the recording industry.

Now that the recording industry has been told it can't chase after companies that aren't hosting illegal content, it might have to pick its fights a bit more judiciously and target the folks pirating music on a large scale (see Verizon 1, Recording Biz 0). And wouldn't it be hilarious if while the record industry was countersuing Verizon, their bill for bandwidth and phone calls suddenly tripled?

No. 8 "Happy New Year Blues" by Blind Lemon JeffersonPlaying at: Ciena Corp.

No doubt about it, Ciena's got the I'm-not-sure-what-I-am-but-I-know-I'm-not-long-haul blues (see Ciena Seeks R-E-S-P-E-C-T). How's the company going to cope when it's more than a year away from profitability, with no clear road ahead to better earnings? Its strategy -- to acquire, partner, and try to become a more complete supplier -- is on the line now. If it fails, they'll be singing another Blind Lemon classic: "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean."

No. 7 "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" by Cheech & ChongPlaying at: Zhone Technologies Inc.

After it bought Tellium and created one of the most unlikely of marriages, Zhone's strategy has become clear: It's constantly on the prowl for new sources of cash, which it has shown a proclivity for burning (more than $500M to date). Given the company's financial track record, one might wonder if Zhone's executives have been eating too many of Mrs. Claus' brownies, which were famous throughout the projects, according to the song. ("She made da best brownies in town, man!"). Maybe they grabbed a bit of magic dust -- you know, the kind that Cheech thought causes reindeer to fly? Whatever the case, perhaps in 2004 we'll see what caused Zhone to get the munchies (see Zhone Closes NJ Center).

No. 6 "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo & PatsyPlaying at: Lucent Technologies Inc.

After its run-in with retirees this year, we wondered if Lucent would dispatch a fleet of hit-and-run reindeer, like the kind that took out Grandma in the world's most annoying novelty song (see Schacht Faces Retiree Wrath). If nothing else, the cutback in retiree benefits has demonstrated how much Lucent has shrunk during the past few years. And with Pat Russo becoming a millionaire many times over as health benefits are whittled away, many retirees thought they felt hoof marks on their backs (see It's Christmas Time at Lucent).

No. 5 "The Only Way Is Up" by YazzPlaying at: Redback Networks Inc.

When a company's at the bottom of the barrel, it's hard to get any lower. So 2004 can surely only get better, especially as the vendor has just received the thumbs-up for its restructuring plan (see KDDI Launches TV, VOD Service and Redback's Ready to Rise Again). And this is such an uplifting song that the Redback staff probably skipped off the dance floor feeling a sale was only a phone call away!

No. 4 "My Name Is" by EminemPlaying at: MCI.

"Will the real MCI please stand up? Please stand up? Please stand up?" was the chant from the staff at the carrier now trading under the name MCI. You know, the one with an identity crisis that's still in Chapter 11.

You see, the new team at MCI is determined it should be known as, well, MCI. But Michael, come on. We all know it's really WorldCom Inc., and even getting cute about Santa isn't going to make people think differently (see MCI Gets Festive Spirit).

No. 3 "Television Addict" by the Hoodoo GurusPlaying at: FastWeb SpA, BigBand Networks Inc., and Tut Systems Inc.

As if having a zillion channels through the air wasn't enough, vendors such as BigBand and Tut (courtesy of its VideoTele.com unit) are now encouraging operators to run TV signals across their last mile connections (see Telcos Turn On, Tune In to TV).

And some carriers have already bought into the idea, such as FastWeb in Italy, which got its service off to a good start by offering live soccer as part of its sign-on package (see TV Over DSL Over Italy ). Anyone know the Italian for "couch potato"?

No. 2 "I Am a Rock" by Simon and GarfunkelWell, what else are they going to play at the Granite Systems Inc. Christmas party?

No. 1 "I'm So Bored With the USA" by The ClashPlaying at: Every company that decided to outsource overseas (see Headcount: Offshoring, Dude!).

So what song did your company play at its holiday party? How about your competitors? Please feel obliged to let us know by using the message board below. We thank you.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading, and Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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