If Nokia's main reason for wanting to acquire Alcatel-Lucent wasn't clear enough, the Finnish vendor left no room for doubt when releasing details of senior appointments at the new-look business earlier today.
Three of the four business groups that will make up the giant networks company are to be led by New IP and fixed networks experts from the French equipment maker, showing just how important Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is to Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) in these areas. (See AlcaLu Execs Lose Out as Nokia Unveils New Top Team.)
The highly regarded Basil Alwan, currently president of Alcatel-Lucent's IP routing and transport unit, will head up the IP and optical networks group, with Bhaskar Gorti -- Alcatel-Lucent's IP platforms president -- taking charge of the applications and analytics division.
Meanwhile, Federico Guillén, Alcatel-Lucent's fixed networks president, will change company name but not job title at Nokia's new fixed networks group.
That means Nokia's mobile networks group will be the only one led by a current employee of the Finnish firm -- that person being Samih Elhage, Nokia's executive vice president and chief financial and operating officer.
Admittedly, the mobile group could dwarf the other units, comprising all of the mobile activities of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent as well as each company's professional services outfit.
But Nokia is clearly counting on some of the brightest minds within Alcatel-Lucent to give it the success in New IP it has already enjoyed in the mobile broadband arena.
When it comes to Alwan, in particular, Nokia's approach makes a lot of sense. The Finnish player has never had a real IP networks specialist and certainly not one of Alwan's caliber.
His abilities, coupled with growing interest in New IP technologies, have meant that Alcatel-Lucent's core networking division has continued to report revenue growth on a constant-currency basis, even as other units have struggled.
The virtual network functions that Alcatel-Lucent has developed -- including its virtual routers -- will clearly strengthen Nokia's New IP portfolio.
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What's more, although Nokia has been developing some interesting cloud applications, Alcatel-Lucent's Nuage Networks subsidiary and CloudBand platform seem to be far more advanced.
Indeed, Nokia appears to be so enamored of CloudBand that it makes a specific reference to the platform in its description of the new applications and analytics division -- the part of Nokia that Gorti will lead.
Earlier reports have noted that Nokia employees will take most of the top management jobs at the new entity -- with CEO Rajeev Suri perhaps keen to avoid the culture clashes that have previously marred tie-ups between equipment makers -- and the status of some major Alcatel-Lucent figures (including Marcus Weldon, the chief technology officer and Bell Labs boss) remains unclear.
But Alcatel-Lucent executives now find themselves in leadership positions at units that will be critical to Nokia's future development in the New IP world.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading