2008 Top Ten: Tellabs Headlines
At the end of 2007, we left Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) in an apparent shambles. Sales were down, layoffs were in the air, and president and CEO Krish Prabhu was gone. [Ed. note: Well, he left the company. He is still alive, thank goodness.] (See "Tellabs Turns Over" in 2007 Top Ten: Optical Stories.)
Plenty has happened since then. It's a story best told in order, so we'll abandon the usual "Top 10" sequencing for a chronological diary of Tellabs in 2008.
1. Tellabs Appoints Robert Pullen CEO (Feb. 26)
And so it begins, as an insider takes the helm on March 1. Immediate doubts arise, considering Pullen is old-school Tellabs, but he swears he's ready to make some big changes. (See More of the Same? and Tellabs CEO Says He's Not Scared of Change.)
2. Tellabs's Access Biz Under Fire (March 25)
"In the wake of the lost FTTP share at Verizon, Tellabs -- in our view -- should be reviewing their longer term desire to stay in this business." Oh, really?
3. Tellabs Kills Its Verizon GPON Efforts (April 2)
Fighting low margins -- and, as later revealed, requirements for a customized product -- Tellabs walks away from its highest-profile GPON job. It's a surprisingly gutsy decision that gets a thumbs-up from some observers. Meanwhile, the Echoboomers shrug and go back to playing with their Wiis. (See Tellabs Troubles.)
4. Tellabs Sues Fujitsu for Patent Infringement (June 12)
It's the sequel to Fujitsu Sues Tellabs , from January, pitting Tellabs' optical gear in court against the Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. Flashwave line. Separately, Tellabs draws some praise from Heavy Reading's Sterling Perrin for the work it's done on the Tellabs 7100 line. (See Tellabs Strengthens Optical Outlook .)
5. Tellabs Lays Out WDM-PON Plan (June 17)
Who says there's no life after GPON? Tellabs joins Orange (NYSE: FTE) and others to develop the Scalable Advance Ring-Based Passive Dense Access Network Architecture (Sardana). (See FT Lauds WDM-PON's Potential.)
6. BT Uses Tellabs for Ethernet Backhaul (July 21)
Another part of the new plan falls into place, at least a little bit, as Tellabs wins Ethernet backhaul work for the BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) 21CN project. Unstrung gets the news in July, but Tellabs won't be talking it up until November. (See Tellabs Joins 21CN Ranks.)
7. Tellabs Guns for Global Growth (July 22)
CEO Pullen discloses more of his master plan, setting sights on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
8. Tellabs Gets Edgy With Ethernet (July 21)
More about that Ethernet stuff, as Tellabs saunters into the crowded aggregation-switch market.
9. Tellabs Adds a CTO (Nov. 17)
Like Tellabs, Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) is in a period of heavy change. The two stories intersect as Vikram Saksena becomes Tellabs' first chief technology officer in nearly two years.
10. Tellabs Juggles GPON, Ethernet (Nov. 25)
Pullen sits down with Light Reading for an interview that, come to think of it, sums up the year quite nicely. Tellabs certainly isn't out of the woods yet. (See Tellabs Sinks on $1B Loss.) But Pullen has provided plenty of reasons to keep an eye on the company in 2009.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading