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SDN architectures

Top 5 Telecom Fiascos of 2014

You might say that Arista was in a fight with its own arm. (See Arista Faces Legal Challenge as It Files for $200M IPO .)

Despite the legal threat, the Arista IPO came and was successful, with stock soaring 32% on the first day of trading. (See Arista up 32% on IPO.)

Then early this month the other shoe dropped. (See Cisco Slams Arista With Massive Patent & Copyright Suit.)

One of Arista's selling points is that its gear is manageable using Cisco-compatible CLIs, making retraining needs minimal. Cisco says it has the copyright on the CLIs.

Cisco also says Arista violated a whole mess of Cisco's patents, and that Arista plagiarized great swathes of Cisco documentation, grammatical errors included.

Arista countered like this:

In a couple of blog posts and a presentation to financial analysts, Arista called the Cisco lawsuit a "smear campaign," but at the same time copped to the documentation plagiarism and apologized. But it said the CLIs are industry-standard, not owned by Cisco. And Arista also said it's still looking into the patent charges, but that its designs are based on a "clean sheet of paper," not copied from Cisco. (See Arista CEO: Cisco Lawsuit Is 'Smear Campaign' .)

This lawsuit isn't going to be settled anytime soon. Cisco has a lot to gain by dragging things out and spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) among Arista's potential customers. So go put the beer on ice while I fix some nachos. This is going to be a great fight to watch.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

BlackBerry
BlackBerry started the year by seeing its sales dip to below $1 billion. (See BlackBerry Q4 Sales Sink to Sub-$1B.)

Revenues fell 34% in the quarter ending November 29.

With the BlackBerry Classic, BlackBerry seems to have given up on attracting new customers and just wants the old customers to stop defecting. And BlackBerry and T-Mobile are also thinking of giving their relationship another try, because when you're lonely and desperate, sometimes your ex is your best choice, even if you did once call each other horrible names. (See T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting.)

Isis
The mobile payments consortium Isis decided to rebrand when the terrorist group of the same name grabbed headlines. We don't remember what the new name is because honestly nobody cares. The payment consortium's biggest problem isn't the name. It's that nobody uses it. (See Isis (the Mobile Wallet One) to Rebrand.)

OpenDaylight
A security consultant discovered a serious problem with the OpenDaylight open source SDN controller. The consultant, Gregory Pickett, part of the managed security services group for Hellfire Security, tried to get the attention of people in the OpenDaylight Project, but nobody was listening. He published the flaw on a public list and delivered a presentation at a security conference, but still nobody paid attention. Finally in December, four months later, the OpenDaylight Project noticed, issued patches, and set up a security response team. (See OpenDaylight Patches 'Serious Vulnerability' – After Four Months and OpenDaylight Establishes Security Team.)

The OpenDaylight Project praised the entire incident as an example of the open source process working right. Huh? Even Pickett said the organization behaved responsibly. But seriously? Four months?

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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Mitch Wagner 1/13/2015 | 3:28:36 PM
Re: beating the dead BlackBerry fiascoes continue: BlackBerry's official comapny Twitter account uses an iPhone.
Mitch Wagner 1/9/2015 | 5:20:16 PM
Re: beating the dead nasimon - "When will we stop discussing BlackBerry? It seems like we all love to beat the dead."

When BlackBerry either lies down and dies or (unlikely) comes back to life 
MarkC73 12/31/2014 | 3:33:13 PM
Re: beating the dead Haha, they ain't dead yet!  (gratuitous bump) I do have one but it's because work forces me to and it's as old as dirt.
briandnewby 12/31/2014 | 12:56:38 PM
Re: Fiascos Well, hacking away at margins is not a way to maximize shareholder value or make the stock price go up.  Telecom stocks are valued very fundamentally.

Gaining a critical mass of users with the hope that variable costs can be lowered whle fixed costs are reduced over a larger base is a way to maximize shareholder value.

It remains to be seen if T-Mobile is doing that, but they are successfully acquiring and retaining higher valued customers.  Sprint has a carpet bomb approach at this point, and it's hard to see what it is, let alone if it is working.
nasimson 12/31/2014 | 11:15:07 AM
beating the dead @ Mitch:

When will we stop discussing BlackBerry? It seems like we all love to beat the dead.
nasimson 12/31/2014 | 11:09:22 AM
four months Really? It took OpenDayLight four months to address the issue and release the needed patches. Thats pretty long response time for an open source project team working on SDN.
mendyk 12/31/2014 | 10:36:56 AM
Re: Fiascos The goal for all right-thinking corporate officers at public companies is to "maximize shareholder value" (i.e., make the stock price go up). If Legere is hacking away at margins (one way to make the stock price go up), then logic would point to market-share gain as his plan. Unless I'm missing something, which happens now and then (and then and then).
briandnewby 12/31/2014 | 9:02:25 AM
Re: Fiascos mendyk, I agree, but is the objective to put market share distance between Sprint and T-Mobile?

I'm not sure what the objective for Sprint really is, other than to be a disruptor and a cowboy, and that badge is already worn by T-Mobile.  Market share doesn't swing very quickly in wireless (it can, though, particularly in the device world because devices are durable goods and there is always the chance for a shiny new object).
mendyk 12/30/2014 | 8:56:11 AM
Re: Fiascos Agreed -- cutting prices and margins to gain market share works only if you're massive enough to suffer the business hit for the possible long-term gain. Sprint doesn't fit that profile. Then again, it's hard to see exactly what Sprint can do if it's intent on at least putting some market-share distance between itself and T-Mobile.
briandnewby 12/29/2014 | 5:01:31 PM
Re: Fiascos I can see how blocking the merger is a miss, but coming out swinging on price does seem like a bigger fiasco.  A low price position can only be sustained with lower costs, and Sprint specifically said it needed the merger to lower costs.

Now, some of the low-price position is more sizzle than steak, so it may not be fair to label this approach (my labeling, not yours) as a fiasco, but I do think it is fair to question the current pricing approach. 
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