Nortel Hands Open Source Competitor Huge Free Marketing Opportunity

from the nice-work,-Streisand dept

Slashdot points us to the stunning story of Nortel handing a much smaller open source rival a huge marketing opportunity by freaking out over a blog post and press release concerning a former subsidiary. That former subsidiary, Blade Network Technologies, had gone shopping for a new PBX system, and chosen Fonality’s open-source Asterisk-based PBXtra system, over Nortel’s competing system (even though Nortel offered them a discount). Blade agreed to go on the record about this, leading to a blog post by Tom Keating and a press release from Fonality about the win. That was a decent enough marketing opportunity, but Nortel just made it much, much bigger for Fonality. Apparently, a Nortel board member read Keating’s post and pressured Blade to return the Fonality system and demand that the press release and blog post be retracted. There was some back-and-forth on this, and a Fonality exec made it quite clear to Blade that if they wanted to push the matter, it would likely end up in the press. Blade backed down, but then changed its mind again and returned the Fonality system. Nortel, for their part, insist that the only thing the Nortel board member asked of Blade was that it first talk to Nortel before using their name in any press release (though, there’s simply no legal requirement that Blade do this). The end result, of course, is that Fonality’s open-source system gets a ton of extra free publicity, while Nortel (who continues to lose market share) looks like a big bully. But at least their former subsidiary is using a Nortel system, right?

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Comments on “Nortel Hands Open Source Competitor Huge Free Marketing Opportunity”

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Overcast says:

No – the fact is they chose a different system. Bully-ing them into using something else doesn’t mean a thing.

If I work for Ford and buy a Toyota… then get pressured into selling to buy a Ford – does it mean anything? My *personal choice* wasn’t the ford…

Actually, it’s another example of the Streisand effect – I would have never known about this at all – until Nortel tried to ‘fix’ it and ended up making it ‘news’.

Instructor (user link) says:

Re: Work for Ford and buy a Toyota?

Don’t know how it works at Ford, but I imagine it’s similar to GM. If you work for GM, and you own a GM car (which you can get for a really steep discount, BTW), you can park relatively close to where you work. If you own some other make of car, you will have a much longer hike to your job.

Concealed Handgun License Training in Plano, Texas

almost anonymous says:

court actually,

as IBM found out the hard way, if you get in the middle of a done deal, with contracts signed and all that stuff, you can be sued for interfering where you shouldn’t. But Fonality has lawyers,they know this stuff.

In telecom, the small systems can kill the big guys. Ask Lucent Business systems. They spun off (got rid of)avaya when PC based PBX’s hit the market.

The telecoms quit competing on a technological basis a long time ago. Now it’s the marketing and legal staffs that lead to market share.

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