Leading Lights Smackdown
"It's the first year we've had a real smackdown," said Scott Clavenna, Heavy Reading chief analyst and awards MC. Maybe next year we'll announce two winners per category and make them fist-fight for the coveted hunk of plastic that is the Leading Lights trophy.
It started when Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) won the best public-company marketing award, accepted by VP Jeff "Bruiser" Spagnola. He described sitting at last year's awards in New York, awaiting Cisco's victory in public-company marketing... and instead seeing it go to Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) for IMS.
"And I said: 'IMS? Nobody even sells anything in IMS! How can it be that good?' " Spagnola told the crowd. He also thanked LR for "recognizing a player that sells a lot of equipment." Think for a second about what that implies about Lucent. (Crowd: "Oooooo...")
Spagnola apparently gave an equally ESPN-appropriate interview for the video crew, but we gutter-dwelling print-media scrubs haven't gotten to see it yet.
Getting into the spirit of things, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) threw in a dig after winning for its MX960 Ethernet box. "Thank you for recognizing the greatest Ethernet services vendor," Juniper VP Shailesh "Mad Dog" Shukla said. (Crowd: "Ohhhhh...")
A promising start, but that's about as far as it went. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) didn't use the podium to dig at each other, not even when U-Verse beat out FiOS.
Elsewhere, Cedar Point Communications Inc. won the coveted "Top IPO or M&A candidate" award. Which, given the last two winners, probably means they'll be neither IPO'ed nor acquired by this time next year. (See 2005 Leading Lights: Where Are They Now?)
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading