Lucent, Avaya, Resolve Technology Split Issues

Avaya, the enterprise business unit spun off from Lucent Technologies, will soon emerge as an independent entity, after overcoming tough issues on technology ownership.

According to Mark Leigh, Asia-Pacific president of Avaya, the firm will function from Oct. 1 as a completely separate organization from its former parent, Lucent, which will have "no management relationship" with its offspring.

"(Avaya) will be a totally separate company," Leigh said, noting that the spinoff will be no different from Lucent's 1996 split from AT&T.

But Sandra Ng, vice president of communications with research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) Asia-Pacific, had noted that Lucent and Avaya may run into pitfalls when they attempt to define their family of products.

"You'll see a very thin line separating what's ‘enterprise' and what's ‘service provider' because some products cater to both markets," Ng said. "There will always be this overlap -- that is going to be their big question mark."

Leong Mun Yuen, Avaya's chief technical officer noted that Ng's concerns were unfounded.

Prior to the spinoff, Lucent had already effectively identified and segmented the relevant products according to the organization's original corporate composite which had included an Enterprise Networks and a Service Provider business unit.

However, Leong admitted that one of the most laborious parts of the separation process was deciding on the ownership of "sensitive technologies""Circumstances became knotty specifically when it involved core technologies, such as optical networking and switching, that were critical to the businesses of both Lucent and Avaya, Leong explained.

But he added that all these issues have almost been resolved, where most of the negotiation to determine ‘who owns what' is completed.

Avaya will begin life as a 34,000-employee company, serving 1 million business customers in more than 90 countries across the globe, Leigh said.

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