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Nortel On Rampage: Boots Top R&D Folks, Blasts IRS

The All About Nortel blog today has two tidbits on that company we’re all watching like a train wreck: Nortel Networks.

First is a depressing tale of corporate America mentality in Canada. Remember how BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIMM) earlier this summer wanted to buy Nortel’s LTE assets and patents? Well, Nortel allegedly kept that from happening but, perhaps as a concession, apparently set aside about 100 of its best and brightest R&D employees for RIM.

We’re not clear on whether RIM had agreed to hire them or what but we do know the company still wants to get its paws on Nortel’s LTE patents.

Meanwhile, Nortel’s whole wireless division ended up selling to Ericsson. And after winning the July auction, Ericsson offered jobs to everyone except, it seems, those 100 R&D employees. That caught up with Nortel fast. As Mark Evans at All About Nortel reports, “As you can appreciate, these people were pissed about not being part of the Ericsson deal, so Nortel has been scrambling to try to place them over the past two weeks within other parts of the organization.”

Sadly, Nortel is laying off some of those people today.

What a crock. Dozens of brilliant, hard-working people get caught in the middle of a bankruptcy brouhaha and poor planning through no fault of their own and get the shaft. Here’s hoping those folks catch a break.

At the same time, Nortel now is trying to protect what’s left of its financial interests by blasting the IRS for sticking it with a $3 billion tax bill.

The company recently made a filing with the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware in which it blasts the IRS for overstating the amount of income subject to United States federal income tax.

Nortel disagreed with the IRS that it had cash tax liability for 1998-2007, beyond the $6 million cash tax paid for alternative minimum tax liability, according to All About Nortel. Nortel also cites the $717 million refund the IRS made in 2002 for the tax years 1998, 1999 and 2000 as evidence that it owes nothing to our fair tax-collection agency.


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