Video software

Alcatel-Lucent Unveils IPTV Strategy

Although Lucent had its own IPTV middleware, developed with one of the world's largest telcos, the new Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is sticking with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s software as the platform it will pitch to the world's network operators. (See Alcatel, Microsoft Confirm IPTV Deal.)

In an exclusive interview with Light Reading at the TVoDSL event in Paris, Tiaan Schutte, VP of Alcatel-Lucent's Information, Communication & Entertainment (ICE) business unit (and almost certain to be nicknamed “The ICE Man”), said Microsoft was the vendor's choice as he laid out his company's plans for addressing the IPTV needs of its carrier customers.

Those plans don't involve the expanded development of the Imagenio IPTV middleware platform that Lucent took on from Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) in April last year, and which then became the foundation of Lucent's MiViewTV multimedia services delivery platform launched last October. (See Lucent, Telefonica Team on IPTV and Lucent Unveils MiViewTV.)

The Imagenio platform, developed internally by Telefónica and now supporting more than 300,000 IPTV customers in Spain, also underpins the Spanish giant's O2 TV service in the Czech Republic. (See Telefónica Busts Its 2006 Targets and O2 Touts IPTV Growth.)

Schutte, who joined Alcatel when it acquired Thirdspace [originally an Alcatel/Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) joint venture] in 2003, says that while Alcatel-Lucent will fulfill its obligations to Telefónica, the Imagenio platform will not be developed into a home-grown alternative to the Microsoft platform.

"Microsoft is the leading platform for Alcatel-Lucent," says Schutte. "We will continue to develop features for Telefónica -- those obligations are being met." (See Small IPTV Carriers Find Life After Alcatel.)

He added that the company will also fulfill its obligations to customers using the Open Media Platform (OMP) that Alcatel had developed internally before the Microsoft partnership.

Rather than doing more work on IPTV middleware, Schutte says Alcatel-Lucent's main focus will be on developing applications. The vendor's existing AmigoTV and MyOwnTV applications, as an example, can run over multiple video delivery platforms, and on systems that will allow carriers to include personalized advertising as part of their service offerings. (See Alcatel Unveils IPTV Apps.)

Alcatel-Lucent's commitment to Microsoft's platform shows just how much of a hold the software giant has on the IPTV developments of major carriers. The Microsoft IPTV Edition platform is now in commercial deployment at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) (formerly SBC), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), and Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), as well as some smaller operators, and is in trial at a number of others. (See SBC Awards Microsoft $400M IPTV Deal , Swisscom Finally Launches IPTV, BT Unveils IPTV Service, TI Develops IPTV With Microsoft, Alcatel and Microsoft Win Danish IPTV Order, Microsoft Wins IPTV Deal at DT, Club Internet Unveils IPTV , SingTel Tunes In to IPTV, and Microsoft Adds Three for IPTV.)

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