Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services.
The company focuses on fixed, mobile, and converged networking hardware, IP technologies, software, and services. Alcatel-Lucent has operations in more than 130 countries. In 2011 it was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The company is under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Ben Verwaayen and the non-executive Chairman of the Board is Philippe Camus. Verwaayen and Camus joined the company in the third quarter of 2008 after Alcatel-Lucent's first CEO Patricia Russo and first Chairman Serge Tchuruk resigned. For 2010, the company posted revenues of 15.996 billion Euros and a reported net loss of 334 million Euros.
Alcatel-Lucent was formed when Alcatel merged with Lucent Technologies on December 1, 2006. However, the company as a whole has been a part of telecommunications industry since the late 19th century. The company has roots in two early telecommunications companies: La Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) and the Western Electric Manufacturing Company.
Western Electric began in 1869 when Elisha Gray and Enos N. Barton started a small manufacturing firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1880, the company had relocated to Chicago, Illinois and become the largest electrical manufacturing company in the U.S. In 1881 the American Bell Telephone Company - founded by Alexander Graham Bell and forerunner of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) - purchased a controlling interest in Western Electric and made it the exclusive developer and manufacturer of equipment for the Bell telephone companies.
CGE was formed in 1898 by French engineer Pierre Azaria in the Alsace region of what was then Germany and was a conglomerate involved in industries such as electricity, transportation, electronics and telecommunications. CGE would become a leader in digital communications and would also be known for producing the TGV (train à grande vitesse) high speed trains in France.
Bell Telephone Laboratories was created in 1925 from the consolidation of the R&D organizations of Western Electric and AT&T. Bell Labs would make significant scientific advances including: the transistor, the laser, the solar cell battery, the digital signal processor chip, the Unix operating system and the cellular concept of mobile telephone service. Bell Labs researchers have won 7 Nobel Prizes.
Also in 1925, Western Electric sold its International Western Electric Company subsidiary to ITT Corporation. CGE purchased the telecommunications part of ITT in the mid-1980s.
AT&T re-entered the European telecommunications market in 1984 following the Bell System divestiture. Philips promoted the venture in part because its PRX public switching technology was aging and it sought a partner to help fund the development costs of digital switching. The joint company used the existing manufacturing and development facilities in The Hague, Hilversum, Brussels and Malmesbury as well as its US resources to adapt the 5ESS system to the European market. The joint venture company AT&T & Philips Telecommunications BV doubled annual turnover between 1984 and 1987, winning major switching and transmission contracts, mainly in the effectively captive Netherlands market. In 1987 AT&T increased its holding to 60% and in 1990 it purchased the remainder of the Philips' holding.
In 1998, Alcatel Alsthom shifted its focus to the telecommunications industry, spinning off its Alsthom activities and changing the company's name to Alcatel. AT&T spun off Lucent Technologies in April 1996 with an initial public offering.
In April 2004, TCL Corporation and Alcatel announced the creation of a mobile phone manufacturing joint venture: Alcatel Mobile Phones.
Facing intense competition in the telecommunications industry, Alcatel and Lucent Technologies merged on November 30, 2006.
At the same time, Alcatel announced that it would swap its shares of Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio for 673 million Euros and a 12.1% stake in Thales - a key player in the French defense industry. This increased Alcatel's stake in Thales to 20.8%.
Alcatel-Lucent acquired Nortel's UMTS radio access business at the end of 2006. During 2007 the company acquired Canadian metro WDM networking supplier Tropic Networks, Inc.; enterprise services gateway products developer NetDevices; IPTV software company Tamblin; and the telecommunications consulting practice Thompson Advisory Group, Inc. Alcatel-Lucent acquired Motive, Inc., a provider of service management software for broadband and mobile data services in 2008. They formerly had a joint venture with Dutch company Draka Holding N.V. for manufacturing optical fibre, but Draka bought out Alcatel-Lucent's 49.9% stake for 209 million Euros in December 2007.
In May 2009, Alcatel-Lucent's stake in Thales was acquired by Dassault Aviation.
Alcatel-Lucent announced the acquisition of OpenPlug on September 1, 2010.
In October 2011, Alcatel-Lucent sold its call-center services business Genesys unit to Permira, a private equity group, for $1.5 billion - the same amount the company bought the business for in 2000. Alcatel-Lucent needed funding for the Franco-American business, which made annual losses from 2007 to 2011.
You can find out more about Alcatel-Lucent and its history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcatel-Lucent.