The dry season continues for Juniper ( JNPR). The company's roots once thrived in the rich loam of the ever-expanding new communications network business. But Juniper's business is now shriveling amid an industrywide spending slowdown and a potential delay in introducing a key product, the would-be Cisco ( CSCO)-killer router code-named
Gibson, observers say. And while the real news of slipping market share is bad enough, rumors of an earnings shortfall seem to be weighing the heaviest on the stock. Many of the rumors appear grounded in the abundantly chronicled hard times that have befallen the company's two biggest customers, Qwest and WorldCom. Juniper, whose shares dropped $2.09, or 16%, to $10.92 Thursday, declined to comment.