Optical components

Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated?

The ghost of Lightwave Microsystems may be about to come back from beyond the grave.

When, in late September, the startup officially closed its doors, and put its fabrication facility up for sale on Dovebid, things looked pretty final (see Obituary: Lightwave Microsystems). But apparently not.

According to a reliable source close to the company, Lightwave Microsystems is about to be reborn. "The facility was not sold and has not been broken up," wrote a source in an email to Light Reading. "The team did not disband. Other than a new name and some new investors, Lightwave will continue to sell products and to lead this sector of the market (such as it is)."

Startup NeoPhotonics Corp. -- which, like Lightwave Microsystems, is developing Arrayed Waveguide Gratings (AWGs) and related components -- was rumored to have been negotiating to buy the assets of the defunct company (see Has Lightwave Micro Found a Buyer?). One source suggested the price was as low as $2 million, although exactly what NeoPhotonics was getting for its money wasn't mentioned -- the deal could have been for the fabrication facility only. NeoPhotonics declined to shed any light -- it continues not to return calls.

Last week, NeoPhotonics spun out its non-telecom-related business, which may signal a change in strategy resulting from being the reincarnation vehicle for Lightwave Microsystems (see NeoPhotonics Spins Out Medical Biz).

Drew Lanza, a founder of Lightwave Microsystems, couldn't comment on any possible deals. But he set the tone in a post to Light Reading's message boards: "We always get asked if Lightwave could have gone on a diet. Wrong analogy. Better to ask if the saber toothed tiger that was Lightwave could have transformed itself into a mouse. Not possible. Maybe through reincarnation…" (For the rest of Lanza's illuminating post, see Happy Thanksgiving!)

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
slayer666 12/4/2012 | 9:08:41 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? No doubt Lightwaves demise was due to the disappearance of the market, and was unavoidable, even if they had of sold out (I heard the offer was for $2B? or was that OMM). You only need to look at JDS sales to confirm the disappearance of the market (Half their existing revenue is glitter paint). Or look at Nortel selling off all their plants and equipment! They didn't build it for fun ya know.

As far as some of the technologies mentioned in this post, I would have to say SOI (Silicon on Insulator) would look like the most promising solution for the future of Integrated Photonic Devices.

One of the biggest hurdles in integration of "all on one die" technologies are the thermal issues. Customers want low power, and when temperature controlled (MUX DeMux, sensors) and VOA (heater based) are integrated on a single device, the temperature bridging issues between the devices can make the result power hungry.

Gain material can be placed in trenches in waveguides (give me a few million and I can show you), allowing for amplification to be added to the module...but with EDFA's dropping in price from $40K to less than $5K (Funny, that's the same price as a 40 channel DeMux), 10dB loss is probably acceptable.

Anyway...Interesting post, good luck in the future. Will you buy me a beer too? I will tell you how to do the amplifier.
Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:08:51 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Benson:

I'm partial to Harp and Spaten myself. Lots of other good local ones as well. Your choice. Look me up when you're in town.

Perhaps I am overstating the case for Lightwave. The pride of foundership, I suppose. But I think your last post puts us pretty much in agreement.

We were the leader in VMUX's and I'm pretty sure that if we weren't the first company to ship them, then we were certainly the second (and by only a few months), and that ours performed better and that we've shipped more VMUX's to date than any other company. We won those design wins. No argument here, right?

Remember that I am privy to what we developed internally, but didn't show to the outside world. Lightwave justifiably has an excellent relationship with its customers because it delivered what it promised and it didn't overhype the technology. I defy anyone to challenge that assertion. Call Cisco, or Nortel, or Lucent or any other customer and ask them. John and Ferris and Paul and Martin and Ben and myself and many others spent decades of our lives building a company that ran to the highest ethical standards we could achieve. There was a lot of neat stuff inside Lightwave that you never saw or heard of. Unlike many others in this field, we were not a hype machine.

For instance, did you know that we built our first ROADM in 1999. It was 16 channels and incorporated 2 AWG's (demux and mux), the switch matrix and VOA's (and maybe taps, too, I don't remember). All in a single, integrated circuit on substrate. It performed reasonably well, too. While we never shipped that part commercially, a group of us formed a company, Fiber Engines, to commercialize that circuit design. The company never got started; the downturn hit in November of 2000 with Nortel's bombshell announcement. But, as part of doing diligence for that company, we pretty much convinced ourselves that Lightwave was ahead of the pack in its ability to integrate that variety and quantity of functioning devices into a single PLC.

I'm with you on athermal AWG's. I reread my post. I didn't say that we were first with an athermal design. Just that we had a slick way of building them. No argument here. My hat's off to Hitachi. They're good guys.

I've just gone back and re-read my numerous posts concerning Lightwave. I'm embarassed to admit that they do sound self-promotional and I apologize for that. It's not my intent. Still, upon re-reading them I think I've been pretty accurate with the facts.

Again, my intent is to keep the record straight about the many great people who helped over 14 years to build what I consider to be a great company (despite its many faults). So, ok, you've got me on pride. But I defy you to pin me on anger, gluttony, envy, sloth, lust or greed. One out of seven ain't bad.

Drew Lanza
benson 12/4/2012 | 9:08:52 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Mr. Lanza;

Thanks for your reply, but I still do not agree with you. I do not intend to demean LM. BUT, I still state that you are overstating the case for LM, and I think you know that.

In working with Cisco, I am certain that you know that there are other companies working on integrated PLC's - not just LM and NEL. In fact, NEL was not even a supplier to Cisco on the VMUX until LM suspended operations a few months ago.

As for athermal AWG's, I think you also well know that Hitachi Cable was really the pioneer in commecializing that product, with a number of papers at OFC to prove it.

I tip my hat to you for your entrepeneurship in founding LM. It was/is a great company, which made many contributions to the field. I can understand your justiifiable feelings of pride. But I still believe that you are over-promoting it on this board.

Which beers do you offer?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:08:53 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Benson:

I have never failed to praise the pioneering role of NEL and others in the development of PLC technology. In a post dated 10/11/02, I wrote:

"We did invent some [PLC technology] over the 14 years we were in business, but the bulk of the (commercial) credit has to go to NEL and Lucent."

(see http://www.lightreading.com/bo... )

You are absolutely correct that NEL, Hitachi, and PIRI (which was NEL's technology) were the leaders in developing and shipping PLC AWG's for years before Lightwave started shipping. Please read my posts carefully. I have been scrupulous in pointing out that what Lightwave pioneered were INTEGRATED planar circuits. We founded the company 14 years ago to build integrated planar circuits and today, we build the highest performance integrated planar circuits.

For gosh sakes, Benson, when we started the friggin' company 14 years ago people were already thinking about and experimenting with planar circuits and had been for some time. There is nothing new under the sun, you know? But the design wins we got with Cisco, Lucent and Nortel clearly show that Lightwave Microsystems succeeded in what it set out to do 14 years ago - to build the best integrated PLC's that we could. Sure we had a lot of bumps along the way. When we began, we were convinced that polymers were the key to making low loss waveguides. And there are lots of other blind alleys that we went down.

As for Lightreading allowing me to post to continue my "promotion" of Lightwave, hey, give me a break. As I have stated in many of these posts I am here to defend the founders, employees, and investors of the company who deserve a lot better than what they get in these posts. If people can attack companies in these posts, then why can't I defend one? Besides, the fate of the company is already sealed. I get no benefit (other than psychic) from defending the company.

For instance, your statement about NEL, Hitachi, and PIRI being the pioneers only tells part of the story as I pointed out above. It confuses the role of PLC technology to build single-function integrated devices (i.e. AWG's) with multi-function integrated circuits (e.g. AWG+switch+VOA = ROADM). NEL, Hitachi, and Lucent deserve an enormous amount of credit in this field and I would never take away from their accomplishments. Read my previous posts.

Finally, Cisco, Lucent, Nortel and other companies DO rely on the circuits manufactured by Lightwave Microsystems which is why we couldn't and didn't let the company die. Lightwave Microsystems is still in production supporting these customers. There were discussions to have these companies 'bail' us out. But such was not meant to be. Nortel sold its optical business to Bookham. Agere went to Triquint. Cisco is not in the components business, but they were steadfast supporters and seriously tried to help the company with a number of potential acquirers.

Sorry if I've been a little bit testy on this post. If you know me, then you know that I am not just some schmuck floating around through this market. I have been in optical telecom for over 15 years. And I am justifiably proud of what we accomplished at Lightwave Microsystems, which got its start in my mother's garage in 1988. I will continue to defend the good people and good works of Lightwave Microsystems as long as I can.

Happy Holidays to you and your family. If you're ever in the Bay Area, Benson, look me up. I'll buy you a beer and we can continue the debate in a more convivial atmosphere.

Drew Lanza
APMH 12/4/2012 | 9:08:58 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Drew,

Thanks for the observations on the technologies that are likely to support the industry for the future. I'm glad to see that you didn't raise the spectre of the O-O-O network!

At a time when the behemoths are starting to stir again (Global Crossing et al coming out of bankruptcy), I'm still waiting to be convinced about last mile solutions.

What is the product out there that I, as a mere consumer, would buy and afford to use that will let me get the bandwidth at home that has been promised in all the analysts reports of yore?

And, out of interest, where do you see MetroPhotonics going with their InP capability?
benson 12/4/2012 | 9:09:01 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Mr. Lanza;

I cannot believe how Lightreading is allowing you to use these posts to continue to promote your company.

I object to your mis-statements on the "pioneering role" of LM in the PLC field. Could you please acknowledge the contribution of NEL, Hitachi Cable and PIRI, who were mass-producing PLC products WELL before LM? In fact, these companies were making 1000's of devices when LM was still experimenting with Polymer PLC's.

As for Cisco, Lucent and Nortel: if LM was so critical to them, why didn't they arrange a rescue?

Bongiorno 12/4/2012 | 9:09:03 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? PLC material technologies vary
The most popular being Silica on Silicon (Lightwave Microsysyems, NEL, Alcatel ....)
but there is also Silicon itself (Bookham.. )
and InP (ThreeFive Photonics...) and then there is the (often postponed) promise of Polymers. Different Technologies will be able to integrate different things e.g Silica planer amplifiers, Silicon fast carrier injection VOA's, InP Detectors, all these have been demonstrated. All these have drawbacks Silica (no active Silcon (insertion loss) InP manufacturability etc and it probably will be not the 'best' technology but that which best suits the market applications available
Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:09:07 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? iamonone:

This is something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about, so I hope you don't mind if I weigh in.

I think there will be four mature technologies that we will use to build integrated photonic circuits going forward for the next decade. There may be other, discrete technologies that are used, but I think the volumes are out there to justify the benefits of going with integrated technologies in the future and to offset the large fixed costs associated with production using those technologies.

1. CMOS at 0.13 micron and smaller geometry will continue to be the core photonic technology for the next decade. I can make a pretty convincing argument that the highest volume high bandwidth part produced over the next decade will operate at 10Gbps. The argument is based around the fact that for high volume applications (i.e. metro and access) it's almost always cheaper to use WDM past 10Gbps than it is to use TDM to 40Gbps. Today's CMOS handles 10Gbps signals like a champ. Plus, lots of technologies like forward error correction and electronic dispersion compensation allow CMOS to dramatically improve optical link budgets without the need to change the basic operating parameters of the underlying optics.

2. I think we will use Indium Phosphide for the active optoelectronic components. InP is a great platform technology at 10Gbps. You can build great receivers. You can build transmitters and modulators (and even amplifiers). And you can add some small number of waveguides and transistors to integrate everything before the yield goes to hell. And the costs are pretty reasonable.

3. Any time you have a lot of optical channels to be dealt with, I think you'll have to go with PLC technology. Our experience at Lightwave showed that for anything from about 16 to about 80 channels, PLC's were straightforward to build. Before the PLC will be widely deployed as a photonic IC, however, we will have to complete the device library. At Lightwave we were able to build AWG's (which were used as muxes and demuxes), we were able to build splitters and taps, and we were able to build switches and VOA's (although better switch technology would have been helpful). The missing piece was a planar amplifier. Other people have built planar amplifiers using processes that are compatible with Lightwave's. The combination of all those elements would have given you a great platform for doing WDM.

4. While you can get CMOS to talk to InP, it's tough to mate InP to PLC. The fourth necessary technology is a packaging technology that would allow you to easily couple the sources and detectors produced in InP to the muxes produced in PLC. There are a number of very talented people working on this problem and I believe a reliable, inexpensive solution to this problem will be available in the next few years.

Obviously, there are always some 'glue' parts (i.e. discretes) needed to put all of this together, but I really believe these four technologies enable you to build anything you can think of with just a few, inexpensive chips.

On the other hand, I could be totally wrong. I'm a EE who group up during the IC revolution in the 70's, so I'm kind of biased in that direction (if you'll pardon a miserable pun).

Drew Lanza
iamnoone 12/4/2012 | 9:09:07 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Thanks for your insight. I guess I wasn't counting on little integrated amplifiers being part of the solution to integrated optical circuits. But you're right that such technologies are being developed rapidly.

Nevertheless, amplifiers cannot make up for the loss in signal-to-noise ratio... a 1dB insertion loss is a 1dB loss in SNR. So -- is your conclusion that no passive technology can really do much better than a PLC AWG for >16 channel WDM components? That would be bad news for enterprise and metro applications where even EDFAs are not yet welcome.

I agree that a form of optical "solder" is a key missing ingredient. But the physics of optics hasn't revealed that any such thing is possible, especially for single mode operation.

Merry Christmas.

Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:09:08 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Dear lastmile:

As someone who has been active in this industry for over 15 years, let me personally invite you to please take part in it.

If anybody gives you a hard time at the door, you just tell 'em that Drew sent you.

Drew Lanza
iamnoone 12/4/2012 | 9:09:20 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? I'm wondering what the viability of silica-on-silicon planar technology is. Granted that Lightwave makes the best PLCs, but is the technology itself flawed for making integrated optical circuits for WDM?

The concept that Lightwave was trying to push was to start with a good MUX and DMUX, then put the other components (VOA, switch) in between. But the problem with this is insertion loss and channel narrowing.

From their specs, I'm guessing the best broadband AWGs have about 3-4dB insertion loss. Since you need 2 AWGs for input and output, you start out with 6-8dB of insertion loss before doing anything. Thus for a typical device with some functionality, we are looking at 7 to 10dB. This is much too large for many applications, especially in metro or enterprise applications.

In contrast, free space MUX/DMUX schemes by the likes of Lucent and some other MEMS companies have about 4-5dB (including the circulator). That's a good 2-3dB better, and has better passband flatness. (I don't work with this technology, BTW).

Any comments on other schemes or platforms that seem viable for WDM components with low insertion loss and maybe low price?

lastmile 12/4/2012 | 9:09:26 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? realoptics
Please remember that LR is THE GLOBAL SITE FOR OPTICAL NETWORKING and every one is allowed to express their views. It does not matter if one is an insider or an outsider. It also does not matter if comments posted on this board are naive. Please remember that there are so many investors who are not IT professionals.
As and when I need special investment advise I will be delighted to seek your opinion.
Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:09:29 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Okay, I surrender.

You've all made good and legitimate criticisms of the company. And certainly, to Lichtverbindung, who claims to be a former employee who was laid off, I apologize. The employees of Lightwave did everything that was asked of them and more and they're a great group. I truly wish that things had turned out differently.

But, I'll say it again. We had a vision of the future that we put together over the 14 years that we were in business. This vision turned out to be correct, but our timing relative to it turned out to be wrong. We did help to invent the planar lightwave circuit and we shipped the highest quality PLC's out there. Again, just ask Cisco, Nortel, or Lucent.

Was that sufficient to build a business? Well, in my lengthy experience in this industry over the past 20 years, it usually is. But these are extraordinary times. Nobody foresaw this huge crash we've had. And, as I've expressed before, when push came to shove, Lightwave chose to continue to deliver its products to its customers who needed them, rather than go into hibernation, screw its customers over, and wait until this storm passed.

I think everybody here has missed the point. It really doesn't matter what we would have done. The employees would still be laid off. When you don't have any revenue, you can't pay salaries. The VC's work was already done. We had built the plant, built the world's best product, and penetrated the world's best customers. At that point, it's a juggling act to match revenue to costs and try to achieve profitability.

In the end, there was (and is) no revenue to be had out there. It's true all across our industry. Should we have seen that coming? How could we? Those of us in the industry for 20 years believed the fiberization of the world was about to commence in earnest (it still will in the coming years, and that's the timing that we got wrong). The analysts didn't see it coming. The consultants didn't see it coming. Heck, the customers didn't see it coming.

Look, I'm a big boy and I know that the buck stops with me. The Captain goes down with his ship. That's why I'm taking the time to post on these message boards - because the employees of Lightwave deserve better than some of the vicious jabs they've gotten here. They built a great company with products second to none.

But I also know the difference between being asleep at the wheel causing me to founder on the rocks and getting caught in a sudden gale that blows up and sinks you.

So, mea culpa to the fine employees of Lightwave, many of whom have become personal friends over the past decade. But, honestly, if I had it all to do over again, I'm not sure I'd do it any differently.

Drew Lanza
realoptics 12/4/2012 | 9:09:29 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Lastmile:

You've told that you are oustsider, so you should keep yourself that way, stop sending and naive comments on this board anymore, go spend more time on pondering how to invest wisely.
lastmile 12/4/2012 | 9:09:38 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Lichtverbindung
I must aplogise for my comments. As an outsider I was not aware of the internal affairs at LMS.
I arrived at a conclusion based on the fact that each and every fiber company (not just LMS)is going through a tough period.
Please excuse my ignorance.
PLC_guru 12/4/2012 | 9:09:43 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? True, LMS was able to development many nifty PLCs that actually worked and had excellent performance and I complement them for this "sucess".

But are these results alone a real measure of a sucess?

I've know the staff at LMS for many years and I know much of their orgainzation. They have (had) an excellent engineering team, but anyone could develop top-notch PLCs if they had > $160M and all the engineers and equipment they could ask for.

The true measure of a sucess is creating a company that can deliver "results" with a reasonable budget and staff. These are the "true" measurement of the effectivity of the management and, hence, the real measure of sucess.

redface 12/4/2012 | 9:09:45 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Drew Lanza stated:
"The team is still together as is the fab. Lightwave lives on. There's a lot to be said for building something of enduring value".

Mr. Lanza, you should be reminded that the team will disband soon when NeoPhotonics integrates with the former Lightwave team. I don't think NeoPhotonics has enough cash to pay all 240 people of the Lightwave team. Probably less than 30 out of the 240 will stay and you know it. So please don't list the furloughed team as one enduring value. As for the fab, you wouldn't want to list it as one enduring value, would you?

"Are the investors disappointed? Sure they are. But they wanted to build a great company, too. They were all solid investors and I'm proud to have been associated with them".

I think the investors are not that proud to be associated with you because you have failed them. You talked about building a great company as though it was your highest priority. Your highest priority should have been shareholder value. Your investors were not rewarded at all for investing in Lightwave Microsystems.

On the other hand Lightwave Microsystems probably has a very impressive customer list and it is something to be proud about. Maybe it is because of this impressive customer list, you and other Lightwave management team thought you could get another round of funding without laying off people and you were surprised when it did not happen.
Lichtverbindung 12/4/2012 | 9:09:46 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Lastmile,

On behalf of the laid-off employees at LMS, thanks for your immense wisdom.
I hope your investment in optics is worth more than my LMS stock.

Accept this small advice from a "trash" sender, check that the team managing your investment is not just a bunch of bright techies and has some business sense.

lastmile 12/4/2012 | 9:09:48 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Drew,
It is strange that a person like you has to go through the turmoil of responding to so many people (like me) who have never been a part of the optical industry.
Your experience of 20 years has given you the ability to respond to garbage with a kind of explanation that only experienced vetrans can express. Someone suggested that you should have sold your company at the right time!
That is junk. If I had sold my fiber optic stocks at the right time then I would (as an investor) never would have had a chance to participate in this discussion.
Fiber has a tremendous future. It is bandwidth and that's it. Just 2 years of bad time does not mean that the world is over.
I sincerely wish you success and I would request you to avoid responding to trash.
LifeIsGood 12/4/2012 | 9:09:48 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? I have read with interest some of the posts on this thread. Let me first state the obvious: cost reduction without compromising performance is the engine that will drive the optical networking industry in the next phase of growth.

The biggest drivers of cost are the capital equipment dollars and the head count. Based upon some idea of their equipment set - LMS is not best-of-class in this area. The headcount at LMS when they shutdown was staggering given the total available market - again I would not classify them as best-in-class in this area. I am sure that the management had its own reasons for this - however, I am not sure that this burn-rate was sustainable in context of the total available market.

I would reiterate the same thing I did previously: the optical components market isrelentless in the way it weeds out winners and losers. Ultimately, the market will decide who the major players will be. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Lichtverbindung 12/4/2012 | 9:09:50 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Mr Lanza,
I did not mean to attack you personally, you seem to be a great guy to work with and have good ethics for all I know.

I just wanted to make the point that no matter how great your product, your engineers and no matter how much you are having you should not lose track of the business responsibility of your job.

Your engineers did not have the visibility you had in term of customers, revenue and burn rate.

At the time JDSU was shopping for Scion, it should have been pretty apparent to you that your business model would fail and that you should sell the company. You did not and that was the wrong business decision.

Good luck in your next enterprise.

Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:09:50 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Ouch! That's pretty stinging criticism.

Sorry to disappoint you guys, but we do it to build great companies. If we can make a lot of money doing it than we are doubly blessed.

I know you may find this hard to believe, but it's true. In fact, part of the reason we're so screwed up right now is because a lot of people did it just to make money and that greed has helped to destroy a large part of the optical telecom food chain and has tarnished Silicon Valley's image.

I'm a second generation Silicon Valley entrepreneur. My father didn't do it because of the money. He did it to build a great company.

The old line VC's who built the Silicon Valley, folks like Draper, Edwards, McMurtry, Dennis, and Morgenthaler will all tell you they didn't do it for the money. They did it to build great companies. I believe them.

And I never did it for the money. I always felt that if we built a great company than the money would follow. Truth is, if we had sold Lightwave Microsystems two years ago it would have been shut down by now (guaranteed). I would have walked away with $20-30M. Do I look back and kick myself? Hate to disappoint you, but no, I don't.

If we had sold it only to see it shut down, then I wouldn't be able to show my face in this industry that I've been in for almost 20 years. The team is still together as is the fab. Lightwave lives on. There's a lot to be said for building something of enduring value.

Are the investors disappointed? Sure they are. But they wanted to build a great company, too. They were all solid investors and I'm proud to have been associated with them.

Maybe I should just shut up, lick my wounds and move on. But I'm very proud of the ethics and accomplishments of Lightwave Microsystems. If all of the companies in this sector had been as straight and true as Lightwave we wouldn't be in the pickle we're in.

And that's worth defending.

Drew Lanza
Lichtverbindung 12/4/2012 | 9:09:53 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? I can appreciate that the former Lightwave engineers get praised for their achievements but I find it difficult to give kudos to a management team (including Mr Lanza) for the most dramatic failure of all in the Valley i.e Not selling your startup while you have customers, products and suitors.

Talk about lack of business acumen !!
Think about it, even Murali was able to sell Scion to JDSU and it was not worth 10% of Lightwave.

Bad job Mr Lanza
fulgurator 12/4/2012 | 9:09:54 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Practically, capitalism is about how your going to make money. How you made (lost, spent, ...) money in the past is now just politics.

realoptics 12/4/2012 | 9:09:55 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? I do not know Drew Lanza either, he could be a true gentleman and a professional. But seems to me it is a bit pathetic when he keeps bragging on how wonderful Lightwave Micro was, afterall the company is a major failure in the optical space: final exchange of a $2 million merger(or whatever the other company can afford) after $120-$130 million spent on the company, capitalism is about making money, not about blaming on the market, ice age, et al.
lllreader 12/4/2012 | 9:10:02 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? I don't know Drew Lanza, but a gentleman and true professional does not make fun of stuttering. Seems a bit immature to me.

zli2g 12/4/2012 | 9:10:11 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Bill Johnson wrote:
"I do not know Drew personally but from what his peers have to say, he is the epitomy of a true professional and a gentleman."

I had the fortune to talk with Drew at a seminar
in Stanford University. I also emailed an executive summary of our optics venture to him
afterwards and he actually replied. So, yes,
Drew is an easy-going, professional gentleman based on my brief conversation and email exchange with him.

Z Li
Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:10:18 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Bill, lastmile, and BBBoa:

Thanks for the kind words. Let me know when next you're in town and the beers are on me. (By the way, BBBoa, are you a snake with a s-s-stutter?)

I realize that Bobby Max is a kvetcher, but he still makes some good points from time to time and I felt they were worth responding to.

I got dragged into optical telecommunications about 20 years ago, at the time of the AT&T breakup, by an old family friend who told me that it'd be an interesting ride. It certainly has. I've been unbelievably privileged to witness and to take part in the tumultous second half of the information revolution.

I've started 4 companies in this area and Lightwave Microsystems was by far the one I am most proud of. It was (is!) a hell of a company with some of the finest people I've ever known (John, Paul, Ferris, Martin, Ben, John K., Marc, Tony, Brete, ...) working for it.

There are a lot of structural problems within our industry right now. One of the things that always made it so much fun was its global reach. But, I guess, the bigger the ball of twine, the bigger the knot to untie. I'm still a believer, but I have to admit that 2003 will probably be pretty horrible and we may not get much more out of 2004. I don't know about you guys, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Drew Lanza
Bill Johnson 12/4/2012 | 9:10:23 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Lastmile,

You have written a post that I am in full agreement with. I do not know Drew personally but from what his peers have to say, he is the epitomy of a true professional and a gentleman. His postings have been very informative and insightful to the inner workings of companies in the tech sector. And, he is an exec. that is not AFRAID to use his real name. Bravo Drew!

I realize that you do not need, want, or require my opinions but for what it is worth, I suggest that you drop him a line to discuss potential opportunities of investment. Since he is a partner with Morgenthaler, he may be able to realy a helpful tidbit of info.
lastmile 12/4/2012 | 9:10:31 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? All your messages have been extremely mature and meaningful.
I do not belong to the IT industry but as an individual investor with lots of my money (now almost worthless) in the fiber optics sector, I have been in touch with the latest news and LR gives me the chance to get a lot of information.
Your views are realistic and never biased. I wish you and your company tremendous success.
BBBoa 12/4/2012 | 9:10:32 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Drew,

In case you didn't know, BobbyMax is a complete moron. He criticizes everyone with absolutely no basis in fact. He's a disgruntled Lucent employee, sitting in a useless, do-nothing lab somewhere, wasting Lucent's time and money by spending his days commenting on message boards (think "Wally" from "Dilbert" only more cynical and you have a more clearer BobbyMax image).

I'd say approximately 99.999% of the readers on "Lightreading" ignore BobbyMax because they know he has zero credibility - so please Drew, do not take him seriously. Your time is infinitely more valuable.

Drew Lanza 12/4/2012 | 9:10:34 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? BobbyMax:

Hi. It's me again. I hope you don't mind if I reply to your missive.

Three points:

1. You're right that the market for Lightwave's products pretty much doesn't exist today. If it did, then we wouldn't have gone through this painful reincarnation process we're going through.

2. We did spend a lot of time, money, and other resources to build Lightwave Microsystems over the past 15 years. But we didn't spend it to build AWG's. We spent it to build optical integrated circuits. The Lightwave fab is today able to build, qualify, and ship optical IC's based on PLC technology that include devices like switches, VOA's, splitters, combiners, taps, and quite a few more. All put together on a single substrate. Still no market, but I wanted to set the record straight.

3. It wouldn't make sense to introduce another player at this time. We're not. We're just keeping the old player going. Why? Because we were never, ever "largely unsuccessful" (at least on the technology and product side). We're the acknowledged world's leader in planar optical IC's (again, just ask Cisco, Lucent, or Nortel) and our customers depend on us. Still no market, but lots of design wins with customers who are hurting just as bad as we are. We've been shipping products to them for yours, and, God willing, will continue to do so for many years to come.

I've been in optical telecom for almost 20 years now. It's down, but never out. Even ice ages and deserts do not go on forever.

To all of Lightwave's customers out there, please keep the faith. The core team is still together and the fab is still intact.

And to think, that just a mere three months ago, I didn't believe in reincarnation!

Drew Lanza
cyber_techy 12/4/2012 | 9:10:53 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? Author: BobbyMax Number: 1
Subject: Nothing to be Gained by Staging a Comeback Date: 12/14/2002 7:09:33 PM

With no significant DWDM and Metro Optical deployments ,arrayed waveguide gratings (AWG),
fiber Bragg gratings (FBG), and thin-film filters (TFM); there does not seem to be a significant market.

Lightwave Microsysytems spent a lot of money and resources to build AWGs, but was largely unsuceesful. I do not see any usefulness in introducing another player at a time when the product demand has considerably diminished.

Well, shame on them for not listening to your free advice
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:10:54 PM
re: Lightwave Microsystems Reincarnated? With no significant DWDM and Metro Optical deployments ,arrayed waveguide gratings (AWG),
fiber Bragg gratings (FBG), and thin-film filters (TFM); there does not seem to be a significant market.

Lightwave Microsysytems spent a lot of money and resources to build AWGs, but was largely unsuceesful. I do not see any usefulness in introducing another player at a time when the product demand has considerably diminished.
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