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The list of companies that was listed were interesting, but left off some products and companies that went into the carrier business as startups and sold to the RBOCs.
In particular, Pairgain and Redback. These products solved actual problems and were unique solutions at the time.
Does anybody remember a Qwest RFP for Optical Gear that had 80+ respondents? Every one of those products may have worked and may have solved an actual problem, but none of them were unique. On top of that, many of them depended on straight forward implementations of merchant technologies.
Infinera - whether it lives on or not - is unique and they have created much of their own Intellectual Property. At least that is on the right path to potential success. What happens to them in the future will be based on the quality of their idea AND their ability to execute as a company.
The truth of the matter is that if you are a startup and you list Cisco as a competitor, you have probably failed. You are on your way to failure if analysts are talking about your space - it will attract incumbents. The Baseball rule fits here - "Hit it where they ain't."