I guess what goes around comes around...aka Karma
As somebody pointed out, Marconi was a historically badly run company that basically built products for BT and wondered why nobody else wanted them.
But as a result they had designed their MSANs and the softswitch explicitly to support BT's migration to an NGN as part of 21CN.
As we know, BT decided to go with Huawei MSANs and an Ericsson softswitch - which locked Marconi out of 21CN and they basically imploded and died. Marconi simply couldn't come down to the prices Huawei was offering BT. As a private company you can't really blame BT for taking the lowest bid, but in hindsight it really did come back to haunt them.
The Ericsson softswitch just wasn't ready and so Ericsson had change horses and tried to deploy the Sonus softswitch instead - and that was already proven and working over Huawei MSANs in the TalkTalk network.
Imagine Ericsson's surprise when it didn't work in the BT network. What nobody realised is that Huawei had delivered a "cost reduced" MSAN to BT that was missing some of the features that were present in the version they delivered to TalkTalk. Note that BT also had Fujitsu MSANs in the network, which I think worked fine with Sonus, but you kind of have to have your NGN everywhere to be practical, and there are 5,500 telephone exchanges in the UK.
21CN was originally funded on the basis that BT would quickly gain savings by migrating the obsolescent System X switches (which were superbly reliable, but by about 2005 many of the spares were end of life).
That was in about 2005 (maybe a little earlier), with the migration to an NGN supposed to be complete by 2008...and today, ten years later we still have System X running in the BT network. Telus (the remnants of Marconi in the UK) are raking in money today keeping System X going years past its retirement date. Good on them for milking BT's stupidity!
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Don't get me wrong - Marconi (sadly) was a doomed company sooner or later, but if BT had chosen the Marconi MSAN and softswitch solution BT would have had their NGN, and 21CN would have achieved its REAL business objectives (not the ones that BT execs has to retro-fit onto the facts later).
A few years ago I attended a lecture by Stella Rimington, the former DG of MI5. In the Q&A I asked her if she felt that BT deploying Chinese equipment, operated by Chinese engineers might pose a security risk to the UK. After a long pause she smiled and said "yes". Then she gave a longer answer about the role of GCHQ in securing the national comms infrastructure.
Just track the "jobs for the boys". Former Ofcom people ending up in Huawei, former BT CTOs ending up in Huawei with no work required, but a handsome salary. BT people moving to Ofcom or Huawei as a retirement strategy. You scratch my back...I'll scratch yours. Same thing happened with people in other companies (like Lucent, for example). So it's not just the Chinese vendors!
A free market is a really, really good thing. Maybe we should have one?