& cplSiteName &

Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/9/2006
50%
50%

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is shopping around for an IPTV middleware vendor to buy, according to several industry sources.

The sources, who requested anonymity, say Motorola has "kicked the tires" of several potential acquisition targets during the past few months.

The main motivation for Motorola's move, it seems, is to get itself on a par with its vendor rivals and give itself another foot in the door of potential carrier customers.

Many of Motorola's peers -- companies that provide integration and/or equipment for telco TV networks -- either have their own IPTV middleware system in-house or have formed tight partnerships with specialist players.

The most high profile of these is Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), which has a productive partnership with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) that has resulted in multiple carrier engagements. (See Wind, Telefónica Pick Alcatel, Alcatel, Microsoft Confirm IPTV Deal, and Alcatel Lands TDC IPTV Deal.)

But Alcatel is not alone. Nortel Networks Ltd. has forged a relationship with Minerva Networks Inc. , while Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) partnered with Orca Interactive Ltd. before more recently taking over development of Telefůnica SA (NYSE: TEF)'s homegrown Imagenio middleware platform. (See Nortel, Minerva Find IPTV Partners, Lucent, Telefonica Team on IPTV, and Orca's Not Blubbering.)

In addition, Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) acquired established IPTV middleware company Myrio Corp. , and Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) bought Thales Broadcast & Multimedia, including the Smartvision middleware used by Orange (NYSE: FTE). (See Thomson Fuses VOIP & IPTV and Siemens Snaps Up Myrio.)

Meanwhile, Motorola and rival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), have, to date, remained relatively agnostic on IPTV middleware. (See Will Cisco Make an IPTV Middleware Move?.)

It makes sense that Motorola would be scouting for opportunities, says Heavy Reading analyst Rick Thompson. "There are still several major players out there that don’t have an IPTV middleware platform -- all those players are potential buyers and it would certainly include Motorola," says the analyst. "It's a long shot to assume it would try to retool its cable middleware product for telcos."

Thompson says a short list of possible acquisition targets can be derived just from identifying the current unattached players. "From a logical perspective you'd have to think of Minerva, Espial Group Inc. , Orca and a few other smaller players that are a little less visible, but that might pop up on the radar screen." (See Espial Joins IPTV Middleware Madness.)

Motorola erected the PR barricades when asked about any acquisition plans. "I can't give you a definite answer to that question either way," says Motorola spokesman Paul Alfieri. "I can't comment on any speculation."

"What I can say is that our current strategy is to partner with Microsoft where appropriate," Alfieri adds. Under that partnership, Motorola sells various set-top boxes to the customers of Microsoft's IPTV carrier accounts -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), for example. (See AT&T Set to Expand Its U-verse.)

Asked if any service providers have asked Motorola to provide an end-to-end video distribution system including middleware, Alfieri says: "I can't commnent on customer conversations, but what I can say is that our play is the [set-top] box play."

It's easy to see how Motorola might benefit from owning its own IPTV middleware. Such a system could create "pull-through" sales of the vendor's video processing and infrastructure gear, insiders tell Light Reading.

Heavy Reading's Thompson shares that view. "Middleware alone isn’t a cash cow, but has a lot to do with owning the service and selling other equipment as part of the larger IPTV investment," he noted in a recent column. Operators may want to buy the middleware and the hardware from the same vendor because the two elements interoperate so closely, he stated. (See IPTV MiddleWARs: Far From Over.)

And service providers might think Motorola is an appealing supplier given its real-world video distribution experience. "Regardless of whether it’s a telco or a cable network, we do have that experience of how to get video from the head-end to the home," Alfieri points out.

Motorola already sells equipment at both ends of the IPTV distribution system -- encoders and VOD servers at the video head end, and set-top boxes and residential gateways at the customer premises. And the company has already added to its portfolio through acquisitions this year -- set-top box maker Kreatel Communications AB in January, and VOD server vendor Broadbus Technologies Inc. in July. (See Motorola Acquires Kreatel.) and Moto Buys VOD Vendor Broadbus.)

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:20 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Out of all the middleware players that remain unattached, Orca seems to be the most battle-hardened in larger deployments. Would this make a good buy for Motorola?
fRolin
50%
50%
fRolin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:16 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
A big part of Motorola's business is the set-top box and Orca does not own any client middleware assets or has any expertise in this area, which probably does not make them a good fit. Also, in the last 12 months, Orca really seems to have disappeared from the market. Their recent revenue numbers confirm this also.

If you looked at middleware vendors that have a server and client middleware offering, they seem to be Minerva, Myrio, Espial and Microsoft. Microsoft and Myrio are out, which probably only leaves Minerva and Espial.
LightWarrior
50%
50%
LightWarrior,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:15 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
I don't know how you could really consider Minerva at this point. The system is entirely closed and though their recent re-write is a little better, their UI and service creation tools are very lacking. The other problem is Motorola needs something that can scale to millions, and Minerva is very unproven in that regard.

I also agree that Orca has dropped off the map. Their recent revenue announcement was very disappointing to say the least.

How about some other guys out there? There are some tiny little companies with new (and untested) products like Zignal and some others. Then there are all the browser-based products like Ant and GeoTel which are not a good fit for Motorola because the performance is slow and the products don't scale very well.

And as others suggested there is always Espial, who seemed to be everywhere at TelcoTV. But I don't see a very long list of possible acquisition targets for Motorola. I know they need something, because I heard the internal IPTV middleware efforts have come to nothing...

Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:14 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
With regard to Microsoft: Do you think they still have the momentum they once had with large carriers? We're hearing that carriers are looking at a next generation of middleware products that are more open and developer-friendly.
SolitonWave
50%
50%
SolitonWave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:14 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Microsoft is expected to get quite a significant slice of this market with some important Tier1&2 wins. All the others are starting to lagg behind. Moto should stay with Microsoft or move Really fast. There are many options to buy but I'm not sure if any of them would give significant edge over Microsoft or Siemens (doubt it).
Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:13 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
We too have heard that Orca has been struggling. But is that really a reason for Moto not be interested in it? Seems it would devalue the company somewhat and make it ripe for acquiring. Also, the Orca product itself is said to be pretty good relative to its peers.
litedope
50%
50%
litedope,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:12 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Does OpenTV offer IPTV middleware on both server and client sides? If so, can this thing come to them?
Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:10 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Looks like OpenTV is just client-side middleware. From their Web site:

OpenTV middleware products include:
OpenTV Core: Flagship middleware client software driving todayG«÷s most advanced digital TV services including PVR and interactive TV for cable, satellite, telecommunications, and digital terrestrial network operators
RTL Rules
50%
50%
RTL Rules,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:10 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Where's MOTO getting their access equipment? The article mentions only headend and CPE equipment.

Where has MOTO gained real-world video distribution experience?

RTL
Honestly
50%
50%
Honestly,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:06 AM
re: Sources: Moto's Shopping for IPTV Middleware
Mark, you are a smart guy so remember that Software is best left in the hands of software infrastructure companies. Just do not think you will see MOT, or CSCO get into this business. I think they both understand what they do well and know what they do not know. Microsoft is just running the table, like it, or not. I think Verizon is already feeling the pain of trying to replicate some IPTV software and they failed before with IOBI. It will cost them billions and they will still us Microsoft

I say, do what you know.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.