Research In Motion (the BlackBerry company) made things interesting this week by going public with claims it was being shut out of the process. The auction for one of the units, wireless, goes ahead today, albeit without RIM. I expect this to get even more entertaining well into next week, and quite likely beyond.
On Tuesday, I was interviewed by BNN's Michael Kane on his show, Lunch Money. I also spoke extensively with CBC Radio in both Ottawa (where Nortel looms large on the business landscape) and nationally (where, I guess, they also still loom large.) By far my favorite quotes came out of discussions I had with Reuters through the week. I hope they make you smile:
July 24. Nortel, A Fallen Canadian Icon, Starts Asset Sales. Byline Pav Jordan (New York Times link)
"The carcass of one of the leading high flyers for much of the last decade and a half is now up for grabs and to the victor go the spoils," said Carmi Levy, an independent technology analyst.July 23. Nortel looks to be worth more dead than alive. Byline Susan Taylor.
"Even though Nortel has been a laughing stock for much of this decade, that hasn't stopped some of its most vicious competitors from emerging from the woodwork to claim their prize."
"There's a lot of delicious irony associated with what's happening now," said Carmi Levy, an independent technology analyst. "Everybody shows up for the funeral, but no one goes to visit the patients in hospital before they actually die."Great fun, this! I expect there's more to come over the next bit. Stay tuned!
The current heated interest in Nortel assets demonstrates the company's R&D might, but it also underscores its big strategic blunders, Levy said.
"When you're restructuring, learn which horse to back and don't back the wrong one," he said.
"You cannot be in perpetual restructure mode and you cannot change your restructuring strategy on a whim," Levy said.
"It was almost a squirrel-like leadership strategy (at Nortel) - look here, look there - you almost can't focus on one spot for too long."
The strategy was toxic when mixed with Nortel's ultra-conservative customers, who make multi-year, multibillion-dollar bets with their purchases, Levy said.