News You Could Do Without

by Mike Masnick

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?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Overcast, May 23rd, 2007 @ 6:16am

    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'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    almost anonymous, May 23rd, 2007 @ 7:47am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2007 @ 8:14am

    I'm just glad

    That Nortel didn't somehow figure out how to sue Blade and Fonality for some reason that has infringment thrown in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Instructor, May 23rd, 2007 @ 8:59am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, May 23rd, 2007 @ 9:02am

    Re: I'm just glad

    Wait for it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Chris, May 23rd, 2007 @ 11:03am


    looks like Nortel has picked up a few tricks from Micro$oft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Matt Bennett, May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:46pm

    Well, this still sucks. Yes, Fonality gets a lot of free publicity, but is it worth the lost deal? Probably not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.