I wrote, “Cerent’s early success inspired copycats who were doomed to fail. After all, the market was only so big.” For my book, I analyzed some of the copycat businesses with good, bad, and ugly ideas, and briefly examined why these challengers floundered when they tried to compete with Cerent.
One competitor NOT addressed in the book’s second appendix was Lightscape, an ECI Telecom company, simply because that company did not initially target the U.S. market, but tried its wares on the European market instead. This Israeli-based outfit enamored many industry watchers. In 2002, as the telecom meltdown was underway, Morgan Stanley wrote, in a report profiling the metro optical transport market that Cisco (Cerent) dominated, “An unexpected finding is that the vendor with the finest converged product, in our view, is Lightscape.”
“Lightscape’s metro optical product line,” according to a March 4, 2002 interview conducted by Fiber Optics News with Emanuel Nachum, Lightscape’s President, “consists of a multiservice hybrid optical system called the XDM, and a whole line of SDH products, including a small footprint SDH multiplexer, all managed by the same management system.”
Their XDM appeared in the U.S. with a description that could have been used for the Cerent 454 introduced four years earlier (by now rebranded as the Cisco ONS 15454). The XDM “combines the functionality of multiple SONET/SDH multiplexers, a data/IP switch/router, a digital cross-connect, and a DWDM terminal. The system’s modular architecture collapses multiple network layers into a single shelf, while at the same time enabling the system to cost-effectively be used in discrete network applications (e.g., in pure metro core DWDM or metro SONET/SDH).”
However, Cerent’s Multi-service Provisioning Platform (MSPP) value proposition had already been rooted in a SONET/SDH-based platform that would better fit into existing metropolitan optical networks (at any optical bit rate and in any network topology) while supporting new revenue-generating services. Its initial acceptance was driven by slashing OC-48/STM-16 configuration prices in half and delivering on the promise of footprint savings, reduced power consumption, and plug-and-play service flexibility. Being first to market was one reason for the success of the ‘454,’ but that doesn’t always guarantee success. In this case it did. Lightscape’s MSPP offering gained little traction in the U.S.
Cerent-Cisco’s product management leader for the ‘454’ family, in 2002, Scott Messenger recalls that Lightscape had “very little, if any, traction in the U.S.” He adds, “[The XDM] was initially an Israeli-based platform only, targeted for the SDH market.”
In fact, Scott noted that he “took a trip with Craig Griffin and Grace Ku to review the Lightscape technology for a quick insertion strategy to our portfolio instead of building the ‘454’ [SDH version of the product from scratch].”
Lightscape’s Nachum recognized that he and his company competed with “two sets of products, which sometimes can be from the same vendor. For example,” he added, “Cisco is definitely one of our competitors. However, the XDM competes with the Cisco 15454 and also with the Cisco metro WDM solution. So in Cisco’s case it’s two separate products . . . Also with ONI we are competing with metro WDM. We compete with next-gen SONET/SDH devices as well as the metro original WDM. In the next-gen SONET/SDH it would be Cisco’s 15454 and maybe Redback’s product. In the metro WDM, it would be Nortel, ONI, and Cisco.” 
What Nachum did not acknowledge (or recognize) at the time, was the array of formidable competitors he had to overcome. Both the established providers and surviving startups of optical transport gear, in 2002, had almost all of the available capital spending dollars locked up.
This uphill battle for Lightscape’s successful entry in the U.S.  would end in failure.
 Craig Griffin, in his role of senior director of mergers and acquisitions for Cisco at the time, led a team within Cisco’s Corporate Development Group to evaluate potential deals with promising companies such as Lightscape. While at Cisco Craig and his team completed over 25 venture investments valued around $10 billion.
 Both Scott Messenger and Peter Grau worked at Rockwell's Network Transmission Systems division based in Dallas, Texas. In 1991, Alcatel, recognizing that the transport market was rapidly growing, purchased this business unit from Rockwell. Both Rockwell-Alcatel alumni chose the startup path: Scott joining Cerent as its ‘454’ product manager in 1999 and Peter staying in the Dallas area by joining Metro-Optix as their sales leader in 2000, a copycat startup that ended up closing shop in 2003. Peter subsequently found sales work at ECI Telecom, trying to find traction for the Lightscape XDM product across America. That particular effort did not pan out for him.
 Fiber Optics News, Lightscape Aims to Invade North America, March 4, 2002, pp.1-3, Nachum interview conducted by Evan Bass.
 Lightscape, by early 2002, had announced customer wins with NTL, Vodafone, Moscow City Telephone Network, Mainova, Cable & Wireless, Globe Telecom, Mannesmann Mobilfunk, Mobistar, Telia and Bezeq, all international service providers.