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LR Poll: Shroud Turin, Tank Tazz?

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
7/27/2005

Every six months we brace for the storm of controversy created by our revised and revamped Top Ten Private Companies list (see Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies).

The response is usually a mix of soft applause and a few late-night emails saying some variant of “you guys are high on crack.” (See LR Names Top Ten Privates.)

This time, readers are invited to enter their Top Ten List opinions at a new Light Reading poll.

The poll lists our Top Ten companies and asks the only two questions that need asking:

Which company does not deserve to be among Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies?

Which company will reach liquidity first?

The most popular answer to the first question so far is our No. 7 company Tazz Networks Inc.. Twenty-one percent of our poll takers doubt the likelihood that Tazz would see any kind of a liquidity event in the near future (see Tazz Welcomes May in June).

Tazz (wisely) did not return calls for comment Wednesday morning.

Eighteen percent of those surveyed object to the inclusion of optical switching company Turin Networks Inc., which we have at No. 8 on our Top Ten list (see Turin Lands Consolidated Deal). Turin marketing director Kevin Wade took the news well and even offered a statistical explanation for the sour poll results.

“We were in the bottom three, so if there were any that [readers thought] didn’t deserve to be on there, that would be numbers eight, nine and ten,” Wade explains.

Part of LR’s reasoning for listing Turin was the possibility of an acquisition by its business partner Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). (See Moto's in a Buying Mood.) Wade put a little more fuel on that flame in comments to Light Reading Tuesday: “We think we are going to be around in some form, whether that be a separate company or a division of some other company, or whatever, so I think you guys are right on in naming us one of the Top Ten.”

Honorable mention: Fourteen percent of the poll takers gave Chinese mega-vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. votes of no confidence. The real question here is, because Huawei is obviously selling telecom gear like beer at a Brewers game, are folks just expressing some sour leechees over the "China" factor? (See Huawei H1 Sales Hit $4.1B.)

Huawei came in just behind Calix Networks Inc. in the company-most-likely with 15 percent of the vote. Our readers seem to love and hate Huawei -- they appeared in the top three under both poll questions (see Huawei Reports H1 Sales).

On the poll's second question, many readers are saying they are bullish on Calix (see Calix Ships a Million ). Twenty-six percent of poll takers pointed to the Petaluma-based upstart as the company closest to being acquired or holding an IPO.

Calix VP of marketing Kevin Walsh had mixed feelings about the poll results so far. “Well, I suppose it depends whether the people that voted for us are investment bankers who are willing to spend money, or if they’re just readers voicing an opinion,” Walsh says.

“Huawei’s behind us,” Walsh adds. “That’s not bad.”

Light Readers: There is still time to take the poll -- it will be up until Friday.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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