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Networking's Nervous Boomlet

While watching stock prices is not a main concern at this locale, networking types had to be a tad concerned when the price of Foundry Networks shares fell off a cliff yesterday, losing more than $8 per share, roughly 25 percent of the stock's worth. According to various reports, the investor departure most likely hinged on some conservative statements made during the company's earnings conference call Wednesday, where Foundry actually reported decent numbers.

Usually, we're more concerned here with the price of the actual networking equipment, software or service, and whether or not it provides good value. But the markets can't be ignored, since stock prices have huge effects on things like hiring, marketing and R&D budgets, and customer perception, all of which influence whether or not a product can succeed. Still, guessing which way stocks are going to go is a fool's game, especially in these once-again uncertain times.

Could it be that Foundry got whacked because it didn't live up to the over-the-top results reported recently by the likes of Juniper, Lucent and even Nortel, which yesterday waxed optimistic
about the future? Or is Foundry correct in saying the recovery might not be as robust as everyone thinks? No doubt, we'll find out more about the real strength of this market next Tuesday, when Cisco checks in with its latest report.