Optical/IP Networks

Juniper Rebounding

5:10 PM -- Has the Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) slump bottomed out?

"Renewed contracts" with the likes of China Telecom USA and Etisalat (in the United Arab Emirates) "give us additional confidence that Juniper has fixed most of its internal concerns and is starting to re-grow its top line again," analyst Mark Sue of RBC Capital Markets writes in a note issued this morning.

He sees Juniper hanging on to its core and edge market shares of 35 and 19 percent, respectively, during the next several quarters -- keeping Juniper secure in its position behind Cisco. In other words, Juniper could be getting back to normal, without being much worse for all the razzing it's taken the last few quarters.

Some issues still loom, like upcoming earnings restatements and the stock options scandal -- and while Sue calls these issues "past looking," there's still a chance they could lead to some changes at the top. (See Juniper Dusts Off Its Eraser and Backdating Could Bite Juniper Execs.)

But all along, Juniper's long-term future hasn't been in question. It's just that the company is at an adolescent point, where being Not Cisco has stopped being enough, and the exact shape of the future Juniper is still in flux. Biggest question, in my opinion: Will Juniper stick to its enterprise guns and become a challenger to Cisco there? Or is that too costly of a battle to fight?

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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