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Nortel on WiMAX R&D spree

According to Nortel Networks CTO, John Roese, the Canadian vendor has pushed up its research spending on WiMAX from $10m to $100m over the last 12 months. After one year in the job, Roese is clearly mad keen to show off the company, especially a big change in the main goals of its research work.

A year ago, he claimed, 50 per cent of Nortel’s $1.7bn R&D budget was going on “late cycle” products such as GSM technology, which he describes as an inefficient use of resources. Now, however, this has been cut, and some 20 per cent of the total allocated to “emerging” technologies, with 60 per cent going into “middle cycle” ones – what everyone else calls “cash cows”.

That certainly sounds better, even if total spending is down somewhat` – one year ago, R&D accounted for 19 per cent of Nortel’s revenues, as against 17 per cent today, for a total of 12,000 scientists and engineers. (Britishtech nostalgists will recall that the pre-Weinstock Marconi had an annual target of 20 per cent.)

The upshot? Roese threatens that WiMAX and WiFi radios will converge so as to take advantage of unlicensed and licensed spectrum. He suggested that unified communications would provide “great productivity” gains for customers.


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