Alcatel-Lucent Stays Tight-Lipped
Russo was at pains to point out that Alcatel-Lucent isn't just a company targeting telecom operators and service providers. Indeed, it already has 250,000 enterprise and government customers.
"The service provider market is a very important and significant market, but there's also the business customer market and vertical solutions. Expect to see us intensify our focus in enterprise and vertical sectors. Our relationships with service providers will help us extend our capabilities into the enterprises," stated the CEO.
Russo claimed the company was already leading the way in call center software and IP address management, and said the vendor is busy identifying vertical solutions for particular industries, such as healthcare and financial services. "This is a very large market," noted Russo.
And it's not like the company isn't already pinning down big enterprise deals. (See Alcatel's Healthy Deal.)
Alcatel-Lucent isn't the only major vendor looking towards business users for growth. (See Enterprise Keeps Nortel in Line and Nortel Sees $1B From Microsoft Alliance.)
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation…
Alcatel-Lucent has 23,000 staff in R&D posts, has 25,000 active patents -- a few of which Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is very familiar with at present -- and invested €2.7 billion ($3.6 billion) in R&D in 2005, about 14.5 percent of revenues. (See Is Alcatel Suing over Xbox? and Analyst: Suit Marks End of Alcatel/Microsoft.)
"Our lifeblood is innovation," Tchuruk said. "Everything hinges on that. We depend on our ability to innovate" to be able to grow faster than the market, said the chairman. Alcatel-Lucent is in a good position to achieve "unlimited growth, even though this is a highly competitive market."
Tchuruk also noted the company's presence in the all important emerging markets, home to cost-effective R&D and many business opportunities. "We have 9,000 staff in China and several thousand in India, and a large part of the industry's growth will be in these countries. The number of new subscribers China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) is adding each year is about 60 million -- that's equal to the whole population of France! We need to be in these countries to take part in that growth," he said.
Russo also answered questions about her linguistic abilities, and denied recent media reports that she had decided not to bother learning French.
"I chose French as a language to study at high school, and I have every intention of refreshing what I learned then and adding to it. But I haven't made much progress so far, as we've had a lot of other things to do," she said.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading
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