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Top Ten Scoops of 2003

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LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
12/24/2003
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It's the holiday season again, and you know what that means...

Yep, we're stuffed to gills with chocolates, cookies, and other sweet treats sent to us by vendors hoping to win favors and get in our good graces. Sorry, but it's just not that easy! [Ed. note: Try cash instead.]

Who really cares about chocolate when there are scoops. There's not much an Unstrung editor likes better than a good scoop. We'd probably sacrifice a rooster to get one (Oh wait, we have – see For Whom the Cock Croaks).

It's in that spirit that Unstrung presents its top scoops of 2003.

No. 10 FCC Ducks UWB Decision

Unstrung's very own research wonk Gabriel Brown was Johnny-on-the-spot in forseeing how ultrawideband (UWB) would get sucked into a black hole of regulatory laissez faire and inter-vendor bickering (see also UWB in Limbo and UWB Standards Split?).

No. 9 Lucent at a Loss Over Reliance?

Scribe Springham found out why Lucent Technologies Inc.'s (NYSE: LU) revenue prospects looked so depressed last July, and it wasn't anything to do with listening to too much Bobby Goldsboro.

No. 8 Tata to Tahoe?

As it turns out, rumors of wireless router startup Tahoe Networks' imminent demise were not greatly exaggerated (see Nokia Sweeps Up Tahoe).

No. 7 Intel Acquires Mobilian

The last six months of 2003 have been a busy time for acquisitions in the wireless LAN chipset market; as usual, Unstrung was first with the news (see also Synad's Chipset Chitchat and STM Buys Synad for $55M).

No. 6 Enterasys Has a Switch Pitch

2003 has been the year of the wireless LAN switch, so its no surprise that this list is dominated by companies in this sector. In December, Springham discovered that switch maker Enterasys Networks Inc. (NYSE: ETS) plans to make a late run at goal in this market.

No. 5 (TIE) Nortel Preps 'Security Switch' / Extreme Hatches Switch Surprise

Other major incumbents, such as Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), have proved to be a little more on ball with 802.11 switches, as we exclusively revealed back in June.

And there have been major upsets as well-funded switch startups found that sometimes, VC money just can't buy you love:

No. 4 Vivato: Shaken & Stirred Up

Vivato Inc.'s one box to rule them all switch strategy initially found fans and funds in the tech community (see Vivato's Silicon Sugar Daddy). But evidently sales didn't match these expectations: By August, after snagging another $44.5 million in filthy lucre, Vivato was cutting staff and promising investors that it would be more fiscally responsible with their money (see also Vivato CEO Steps Down).

No. 3 Trapeze's Wireless Wobbles

Trapeze Networks Inc. announced its switch product in April, boldly proclaiming that it had a year to make its mark (see Trapeze's High Wireless Act). Yet before the company even launched, industry tongues were wagging about just how much the company was prepared to spend in order to make an impact. Was this business model sustainable in a downbeat economy? It wasn't, as it turned out, and Unstrung exclusively revealed in October that the firm fired 30 percent of its staff in order to cut its costs.

No. 2 Hutch's Nokia Network Woes?

3G routers weren't the only thing that got overheated after we published this story on Nokia Corp.'s (NYSE: NOK) problems with the kit it was supplying to pioneer U.K. operator Hutchison 3G UK Ltd. Apparently, the problems didn't end there for the hapless Finnish supplier (see Nokia Suffers 3G Blow). In fact, you could say that Nokia's been hot stuff all year (see Nokia's Flaming Fortunes).

No. 1 Look Before You LEAP

This little gem must have been the easiest scoop we've had all year, yet it's also the one that drew the most response from readers and got picked up all over the place.

Back in October, your correspondent watched tame "hacker" Joshua Wright [ed. note: before you all start writing in again, that's how he described himself] lay out this security problem with Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) Aironet wireless LAN access points at Unstrung's very own live event in New York City. It turns out that the relevant security alert is on the Cisco Website – if you know where to look (evidently lots of people didn't).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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