Reports of Nortel's demise are not only exaggerated, they're frankly incorrect. The company filed for, and obtained, protection under Canadian, US and UK bankruptcy laws, which gives it an opportunity to get back on to a firm footing.

Steve Blood, research vice-president at Gartner, comments: "The most important point is that Nortel has filed for bankruptcy protection, not bankruptcy itself as had been reported.
"This is probably the best action to take in order for Nortel to resolve its challenges and existing customers have no need to panic.
"Channel partners in Europe generate revenue from supporting Nortel equipment – they can't afford to simply give that up; and Nortel has agreed with its suppliers to meet continued demand."
However, Nortel's new business is likely to be impacted, Blood says.
"Nortel has good products.  However, for new purchases, some customers are likely to see other competitors as a less risky option and we would expect Nortel to lose some share of new business during this current period.
"For companies committed to Nortel, we would recommend they depreciate purchases over a shorter time frame, perhaps three years instead of five or six which might be the normal case."
The bankruptcy protection laws are in place to allow companies time and relief to straighten their affairs and, eventually, re-enter the mainstream of business.
For the duration of the court order, creditors cannot have the company declared bankrupt.
In South Africa, the closest equivalent would be judicial management, where a struggling company is placed under temporary court protection, with court-appointed managers tasked with helping it regain health.