Nortel was just about to announce revenues of $30.3 billion for its most recent financial year, including $10.1 million in optical equipment sales: Huawei's annual revenues had not even reached $2 billion by that stage. (See Nortel Logs Good Quarter, Great Year.)
Nearly eight years on, things have changed.
A lot. (See 2008 Top Ten: Nortel News.)
But some things have stayed the same, like Huawei and Nortel appearing in the same articles, sometimes even the same headline. And a number of those headlines appear in this Top 10.
And before we hit the Top 10, here's a thought: If Huawei and Nortel were to merge, would the company be called Nowei? Or even Yeswei?
Answers on a virtual postcard, which, in our world, means the message board at the foot of this page.
10. Disruptive influence
Like the unwanted guest at a party, Huawei continues to bump and grind its way into the previously cozy world of the other major vendors and (shock horror!) get it on with some of the world's most attractive carriers. Party on!!
- Huawei Rivals AlcaLu for DSL Crown
- Huawei Says Aye, Android in 2009
- Huawei, NEC Score Orange Femtocell Deal
- Huawei Lands More Femtocell Action
- Huawei Strikes Again
- Reliance Borrows $750M for Huawei Gear
- Huawei Dives for €uros
- BT Goes With Huawei for FTTH
- Huawei, VOD Go Soft in the RAN
- EJL Puts Huawei on Top
- Huawei Goes Underwater
9. Progress report
Earlier this year we got the big-brained thinkers at Heavy Reading to take a look at Huawei's business. Here's what they had to say:
As telecom software and services become increasingly important to the vendor community, Huawei created an independent business unit, Huawei Software Technologies Co., to chase OSS and applications development business. And like many of its major rivals, such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Nokia Networks , the Chinese vendor is chasing the services and integration dollar, too.
Huawei had two M&A plans scuppered during the past year as it failed to land a slice of 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) and pulled the sale of a stake in its mobile handset business.
Is there any part of the industry in which Huawei doesn't want to compete? Despite evidence of many a failure in the IP core router market, the company launched its very own monster box, the Quidway NetEngine 5000E, in April and followed up with a customer announcement in November.
In early April we dusted off our abacus and estimated that Huawei had generated $11.7 billion in actual revenues in 2007. (See Huawei Sets Bumper Sales Target.)
We were wrong, though -- it was $12.5 billion, making Huawei the world's fifth biggest telecom equipment supplier.
Not content with joining the big boys in the IP router world, Huawei is also looking to run with the leading pack in the optical world as well, unveiling in September a monster DWDM switch and the "world's first standard 10 Gbit/s GPON system."
While a stake in 3Com would have helped to accelerate its growth in North America, Huawei has been plugging away by itself and has been making progress in the optical equipment sector with Tier 2 and 3 operators, and is believed to be scoping out an entry into the cable set-top market.
Another way into the North American market is to pick at the bones of a weakening beast. Of course, even if Huawei did slap down an acceptable offer for Nortel's optical and Ethernet business unit, would the regulators and government agencies let it happen? This one could run and run...
- Nortel: M&A Update
- Is Huawei Moving Closer to Nortel?
- Huawei Seen as Likely Nortel Suitor
- Why Huawei Should Buy Nortel's MEN
While the rest of the world wonders just how scary 2009 might be for their finances, Huawei is still bullish about its growth prospects for next year. The first indication about the coming 12 months might come when Huawei unveils the volume of contracts it secured in 2008, which, the company says, is still on track to total $23 billion in value.