2009 Top Ten: Most Popular Non-Nortel Stories

It's a Light Reading tradition to list the Top 10 most-read stories of the year. But this year was different.

You see, there was that little restructuring story about that little Canadian company back in January. And that, in turn, spawned a whole year's worth of headlines that dominated the Light Reading ranks.

Seriously, Nortel Networks Ltd. would account for half of the Top 10 spots. Or the Top 20. Or 30. That's stacking the deck.

So, we decided to see what else was going on in the world. Nortel will get its own list later today.

Similarly, because Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. generated enough interest to warrant its own list, we've left them off of this tally as well. (See 2009 Top Ten: Most Popular Huawei Stories.) Huawei would have taken up only two of these top 10 slots, though.

Here, then are the 10 most-read, non-Nortel, non-Huawei, non-photo stories to grace Light Reading during 2009. Is that enough qualifiers for you?

10. New AT&T Policy Puts Vendors at Risk
News of the Domain Supplier strategy wasn't a surprise, but it codifies the saying that it's tough for small companies to crack the big telcos like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). And it's led to some jockeying for position as companies like Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and Huawei try to make those ranks.

9. No Sign of Recovery for Nokia Siemens
From October, making it the most recent story on the list, and an indication that the economy isn't definitely turning back to roses in 2010. You'll notice that financial stories dominated this year's list.

8. AlcaLu Ends 2008 with €5.2 Loss
Of course, the start of the year wasn't so rosy, either. In February, Alcatel-Lucent made sure we all knew that recession thing was going to hurt.

7. Cisco's Still Sinking
That was also back in February. The company has since become one of the first to say that the recession's nadir may have passed. But early in the year, Cisco was a lot gloomier.

6. Force10, Turin Merge
Apparently, it's the top non-Nortel merger of the year. The long, long, long wait for a Force10 Networks Inc. exit is over. (Now everybody turn and look at Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX))

5. Hard Times for Alcatel-Lucent
Even by May, things weren't looking up.

4. Verizon Rethinks Long Haul
Finally, a technology story! Verizon also declared love for 100-Gbit/s technology. But its packet/optical transport systems (P-OTS) plans, declared at the The Optical Society (OSA) Executive Briefing in March, caught readers' imaginations.

3. Rumor Mill Boosts AlcaLu
Not technically a Huawei story, this one involved chatter about a Chinese company making a bid for AlcaLu. There are enough what-ifs there to fill a Philip K. Dick novel (or a mediocre movie based on one, anyway).

2. Juniper Kills the Cartoons!
Yes, that's an exclamation point! We even considered using ALL CAPS! But there's a serious side to the story. The moratorium officially ushered in the new era of CEO Kevin Johnson, who has recruited Lauren Flaherty, ex of Nortel, to lead a substantial new marketing push. And it ended a good five-year gig for freelancer Kevin Pope. (See Juniper Takes Over the Network and Juniper's Cartoonist Isn't Bitter.)

1. Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE
The demand is there, at least in patches. But the volumes and the economics still aren't. This story, from September, summed up the situation nicely, setting the stage for some key 2010 questions: How quickly can packet and optical vendors produce a 100-Gbit/s infrastructure, and will anybody, especially component manufacturers, be able to make a profit at it?

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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