The Last Laugh Is On Lucent

Remember the tumble that Ciena Corp http://www.ciena.com took in 1998, after AT&T Corp http://www.att.com decided that it was going to buy Lucent's and NEC's DWDM gear in preference to Ciena's? At the time, it looked as though Ciena was losing its touch. Its stock price tanked and a planned merger with Tellabs Operations, Inc http://www.tellabs.com had to be called off.

Allegations were made at the time that Lucent Technologies http://www.lucent.com and AT&T were playing dirty tricks in an effort to do down Ciena - charges that couldn't be substantiated and were vigorously denied by both companies.

Now, however, evidence is trickling out to suggest that Lucent overdid its efforts to gun down its young rival on the AT&T account. In particular, it's become clear that Lucent was nowhere close to having a product when it first announced AT&T as a customer for its Wavestar 400G 80-channel DWDM system in January 1998 (see http://www.lucent.com/press/0198/980126.nsa.html)

The reason why this old chestnut has been raked up right now is that Lucent's publicity machine has been at work again. On March 23, it issued a release with the headline: "Winstar first to announce live network running across Lucent's 80 channel optical networking system (see http://www.lucent.com/press/0300/000323.nsa.html). Yes -- exactly the same system that it supposedly sold to AT&T more than two years ago. And that touched a raw nerve with one industry executive (not from Ciena), who suggested that Light Reading should blow the whistle on Lucent's habit of pre-announcing products.

With pleasure, as they say.....read on.

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