Recently two Ottawa tech companies that share a Nortel pedigree were sold.

Blade Networks and the non-optical switch unit of Nortel join a long list of Ottawa firms that have been sold off.

Blade spun out in 2006 on Ottawa-invented technology. The new company was headquartered in California but its research heart remained in Ottawa. Now IBM owns it.

That makes six companies IBM has snapped up in Ottawa. No one will confirm it but the reported price tag is $400 million and employees will share in the cash windfall. The Ottawa office and its 35 employees was called BNR as a tribute to the old Nortel.

"This deal is a reflection of the quality work that is done by the team here and I only see growth ahead for Ottawa," engineering vice-president Atule Tambe told me The other deal saw Swedish telecom firm Ericsson buy up its fourth piece of Nortel. The auction price: $65 million. The general manager for the unit is based in Ottawa but Nortel says most employees are around the globe. Two Ottawa businessmen bid $39 million. Pat DiPietro and Adam Chowaniec both have long experience in Ottawa's tech sector.

DiPietro tells me he can't discuss details of the deal.

"This was the last and best shot to get at least one part of Nortel into Canadian hands" he says. "I am a firm believer that Canada is allowing its technology leadership capability to erode, and later it will be a big surprise to everyone that we have fallen behind. Our productivity as a nation continues to suffer because of our inattention to technology. I fear for our kids and their kids when our bounty of resources becomes exhausted ... They will be living in a third world country."

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