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Hope this brings a bigger and better European (and non-US) coverage from LR.
Cut the budget, cut the budget....
Sorry guys, it was great while it lasted.
Pretty much, and in some ways that's been the case for a while. I mean, yeah Bell Labs still operating -- you can see some of the quotes in the story, the 100-Gig research articles, etc. -- but I don't think the environment is the same.
I like Saffo's point: What happens to basic research? It's no longer a priority in the U.S., it seems. Does the "Bell Labs" kind of work now become the purview of Asia -- and what does that mean to long-term U.S. competitiveness?
Lately the answer is to point to Google and its "20% projects" and say startups can take care of innovation for us ... but I still think there's a gap, a zone of pure research that's not going to be tapped by the usual business model. Whether that's trouble or not, I guess we'll find out.
It goes both ways... For incremental innovation the market is the pusher, for disruptive innovation, research pushes. In several areas research is still years ahead of market.
Again, I claim: "telecom goes East". And instead of discussing this (eventually disagreeing) I still hear (yet again) about BellLabs. Does anyone has a clue about what Nokia+Alcatel+Siemens+Ericsson are doing on the research side? A lot. And additionally they will get a big slice of the 10 billion EUR that European comission is spending on Telecom research for the next 7 years (7th framework programme).
I may be wrong, but in the old days, the technology in the market was a result of the research, and depending on what was researched, the market adopted the technology.
I mean, nowadays it looks like the market is ahead of research and not the the other way around.
It seems that this US administration isn't ponying up the $$$ these days (too busy pissing away $$$ in Iraq) so the companies are being outcompeted (or simply losing to more positive attitudes) by their European counterparts who are playing a similar game but have governments that provide some of the research Euros.
I realize Nokia et.al. have their own research, and that Europe funds this stuff ... and if they've got the same free-association kind of environment of Bell Labs (and PARC and IBM Almaden, etc.) -- then great. That doesn't change the situation over here, where folks are beginning to think business has lost interest in outfits like that.
I should have done more than checked the spelling of my message.
AT&T Network Systems emerged a market leader in all product categories. Top, mid, and lower level management was arrogant and inexperienced. Many Bell Labs managers ended up in top positions at Network Systems. This is how McGinn, Fiorina, Buchner, and others rised to to the top while other talent like Hawley and Bosco went on to entrepreneurial endeavors. Talent fled while the hot shots destroyed the company.
Alcatel grew in size and stature by purchasing Lucent's competition. George Hawley, while at Optilink/DSC/Alcatel, developed the market leading digital loop carrier beating SLC 2000. Rockwell/Alcatel developed a better DCS than Lucent. Nortel continued its dominance of the Class 5 switching market while Alcatel was succeeding overseas. Innovation was waining because management did not know how to apply the superior talent in Bell Labs.
By the time Russo took over it was too late. Lucent was dying. She did not have the innovative or management leadership to rebuild the company. She was merely a caretaker until a suitable purchase could be arranged.
In a way the purchase by Alcatel is appropriate because the genesis of Alcatel had its roots in the old AT&T. At various times throughout AT&T's history it created foreign subsidiaries that the U.S. Government forced it to divest. That is how Nortel, NEC, and other competitors got started. Too bad that most of the technology leadership that the "old" Lucent had will be lost.
There may never be another institution like Bell Laboratories, but its legacy will live on. I owe the beginning of my career to Bell Labs. It was the best school I ever attended. Long live its memory.