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The top 25 newsmakers of 2007 – Number 20: Mike Zafirovski

While the year began for Nortel Networks as most years have gone for the telecommunications equipment vendor, since the dot-com bubble burst, with more layoffs, with this third round of cuts in three years out of the way Mike Zafirovski, Nortel's CEO, charted a course for the company that gives hope for better times ahead.

While the year began for Nortel Networks as most years have gone for the telecommunications equipment vendor, since the dot-com bubble burst, with more layoffs, with this third round of cuts in three years out of the way Mike Zafirovski, Nortel’s CEO, charted a course for the company that gives hope for better times ahead.

With the cuts, Zafirovski positioned Nortel to focus in on what he describes as “highly competitive” areas such as WiMAX and CDMA. And probably the biggest focus for Nortel in 2007 and going forward, coupled with a major partnership with Microsoft Corp., is in the burgeoning area of unified communications (UC).

The partnership, which Zafirovski said represents $1 billion in new revenue for Nortel alone, is a four-year alliance to deliver unified messaging products and pursue what they are calling a “software-centric vision for communications.”

The cornerstone of the alliance will be voice-over IP networking products, but the two companies also plan on delivering a product set that will allow customers to experience unified communications.

“A world where computers, phone devices and PDAs converge into a single easy-to-use platform that’s easily and intuitively tied together — Nortel and Microsoft share this vision,” said Zafirovski.

Nortel also used the Interop conference this May to detail its Business Optimized Networking Strategy, a strategy with what Nortel calls five building blocks channel partners can use to create a data and voice network that sustains an organization’s communications.

“It’s not about piling on new network layers,” he said. “It’s about conserving legacy investments and powering new applications with simple solutions that bring new levels of consolidation and virtualization.”