Video software

Cisco Spiking Its IPTV Middleware

LAS VEGAS -- TelcoTV 2010 -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is exiting the IPTV middleware business in the US and putting in place a conversion path to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Mediaroom for its existing customers, multiple sources said here at the show.

Sources on the floor said several customers that use Cisco's ISDP (IPTV Services Delivery Platform) were notified recently that the company intends to freeze the feature set of the middleware (which also includes the base navigation guide and other TV apps) but will continue to support it through 2014.

Before that date, Cisco, they said, is giving those customers (there's believed to be about 20 or so of them) a way to "reflash" Cisco-made IPTV boxes to support Mediaroom.

And that sounds all well and good, unless you're an ISDP customer that doesn't want anything to do with Mediaroom. In those cases, telcos were banging on the booths of other set-top and middleware vendors to help them find out what options they have that don't lock them into Mediaroom.

Cisco, meanwhile, is keeping those specific plans between itself and its customers for the moment, but, reading between the lines, there appears to be something afoot.

In response to questions about the future of ISDP, a company spokeswoman emailed that "we aren't announcing any changes to our IPTV platform. We continue to refresh our product portfolio as part of our long term IPTV R&D investment strategy."

Cisco, she added, intends to share updates on its IPTV product portfolio "in early 2011."

Sources familiar with the ISDP exit plan didn't specifically know why Cisco was getting ready to jettison the ISDP product, but speculated that it's because Cisco's been slow to add new features like multi-room DVR and that the company was not interested in plowing more money into product development. They add that Cisco probably decided it made more sense now to cut further R&D on that product and instead move it all over to the more feature-rich Mediaroom platform.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:18:34 PM
re: Cisco Spiking Its IPTV Middleware

This sounds like a perfectly good move by CISCO since it will not be able nor capable of dominating the middleware space. MSFT is the middleware power house right now until Google delivers its solution.

Plus it has never been clear how much $ you make with IPTV Middleware - has any of the other smaller companies gone IPO ?


Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:18:31 PM
re: Cisco Spiking Its IPTV Middleware

That's true. No one I talked to about it really called it a bad move since it's probably better for those customers long-term. It does offer some uncertainty for the existing customers, who will have to go through pain making the transition. The only concern for some of them is that they are hesitant to go with Mediaroom, so they want to check around for other options.

 But it sounds like Cisco certainly wants to help those customers make the transition.  We'll have to see how quickly those customers make it, though.  Cisco's giving them some time to make it, but I doubt they'll want to wait very long if Cisco's already taken the step of freezing the feature set. JB

ESLKid75 12/5/2012 | 4:18:27 PM
re: Cisco Spiking Its IPTV Middleware

With 15 consecutive profitable quarters, Minerva Networks and its IPTV middleware has been reasonably successful and offers a great alternative to Mediaroom.

upand2theright 12/5/2012 | 4:18:20 PM
re: Cisco Spiking Its IPTV Middleware

I scratch my head at the conventional wisdom of some industry pundits.  Mostly because market numbers tell a different story about success and failure.

For example, Cisco had an estimated 20 tier 2 and tier 3 customers for its IPTV middleware, according to most analysts.  Less than half of those wins were actual deployments.  A disappointment by Cisco standards.

Separately, Microsoft has managed to deploy just 5M of 40M IPTV subs worldwide. In fact, Mediaroom has never been bigger than a $100M business at Microsoft, despite the billions invested in Microsoft TV efforts.

It doesn't suck to be Cisco and Microsoft, but these companies are not leviathans in every product catagory. 

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