Euro Edge Creeps Closer

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says it has delivered "EDGE-capable" infrastructure to 25 operators in 14 countries worldwide, including nine territories in Europe. Those countries are: the already well-documented U.S. and Brazil in the Americas; India and Thailand in Asia/Pacific; Israel in the Middle East; and Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Spain, and the U.K. in Europe. Talking at a London briefing Tuesday, Kai Konola, marketing and sales director of the vendor's IP Mobility Networks division, told Unstrung that the first commercial software deliveries would be made to operators in the U.S. (operating at 800 MHz and 1900 MHz) at the beginning of 2003, and that the network software for networks operating at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, the "European" frequencies, would be "available later in the first half of the year." He declined to name any of the European operators who had ordered the "EDGE-capable" kit during the second half of 2002, though he noted that in the U.K., O2 Ltd. (NYSE: OOM) and Orange UK (London: OGE) are existing "major customers" of Nokia's GSM network infrastructure. EDGE (which stands for Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution or Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) offers higher data rates, theoretically up to 384 Kbit/s, on existing spectrum than the now widely deployed GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) while using the same basic network infrastructure. "EDGE offers a noticeable difference in terms of data speeds," says Konola. The Nokia man was unable to offer any details on handset availability, other than to reiterate its promises of EDGE handsets for the U.S. market in the first half of 2003 and for Europe in the second half of the year (see Nokia Launches EDGE Device and Nokia Promises EDGEy 2003). Many things remain unclear about EDGE in Europe. For example: When, where specifically, and for the support of which particular services might the operators deploy the enhancements? Or have they ordered EDGE-capable infrastructure simply to give themselves the option of upgrading as, when, or even if required? Nokia, of course, is not alone in the EDGE market. LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY) is also ready to deliver to its GSM customers as and when required, while Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) has also stated its intention to meet carrier needs. For handsets, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) will play a role, as it is also developing an EDGE handset. A test call was recently made between a Nokia 6200 handset hooked up to Telecom Italia Mobile SpA's (Milan: TIM) mobile network in Brazil and a Motorola EDGE handset linked to the AT&T Wireless Services Inc. (NYSE: AWE) network. — Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
spc_rayella 12/4/2012 | 9:10:05 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer Hence the paragraph:
"Many things remain unclear about EDGE in Europe. For example: When, where specifically, and for the support of which particular services might the operators deploy the enhancements? Or have they ordered EDGE-capable infrastructure simply to give themselves the option of upgrading as, when, or even if required?"

There is interest in the industry about EDGE and just how niche it is going to be. It seems European GSM carriers are giving themselves an option, though one they may never have to resort to. Maybe they realize that, like everyone else, they have little idea about what demands mihgt be out on their networks in the coming years, and that some futureproofing might not be such a bad idea.

However, I'll be more convinced once I see some EDGe-capable handsets for 900/1800 MHz.

Unstrung Ray
futureisbright 12/4/2012 | 9:10:05 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer EDGE capable infra means that Nokia has shipped EDGE capable TRXs and/or EDGE capable PAs. To qualify for this statement they just need to have shipped a few. As with many such statement, it is unsubstantiated: no names, no quantities. Frankly, I don't see what the news item is!

To actually achieve network usage, they need to ship the software, plus replace a significant portion of TRXs and PAs in the field. An important investment, that, in the short run can only be justified by an aggressive service provider GPRS strategy. In the absence of aggressive GPRS strategy, why would a service provider invest?

ITmonger 12/4/2012 | 9:10:00 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer I will add a word of balance to Unstrungs editorial pump of Aether.

I had a small investment in Aether, and several other stocks in its peer group during the "bubble", and know some about them, fortunately I got out with just a small bruising. I do not find it near so compelling of an opportunity as the editorial suggests, and certainly not for the reasons specified. Sure insiders are buying the stock at current prices, but they also dumped significant shares in the 100+ territory, their current buys are chump change relative to what they made on sales of Aether's stock, and, uhh yea I suspect Aether management would say they are in a great position and promote their stock. Editorial says "...rocketed from the $16 IPO price to more than $200 (gasp, try $350, weren't those the days!), but hey, good for them.

Oros may have a successful personal experience but I see nothing in the way of Aether the company as being succesful. They're where they're at now because of acquisitions. Aether purchased RTS Wireless for multi- millions but has since written off much of that business, with its wireless internet gateway. It purchased Riverbed for over a billion in stock and cash, the snyc business has since been rolled up into its fusion product, how many deals have you seen for this? zilch. IMO they don't have the offering Starfish, Puma, Extended Systems etc. have, the before mentioned are where the deals have been made. The only area Aether has made progress in is tracking for the transportation business, but QCOM and others have significant inroads in this market as well.

As for strategic alliances with Rueters etc., even Rueters has snubbed its partners server sync and gone to a competitors...strategic alliances, please, that's bubble talk! "Wall Street also loves to see profitability"...uh Hey let's not forget to subtract its debt from its cash horde.

I do agree it still has lots of cash after compensating for debt, and Aether is in an okay position to make some acquisitions of strapped companies, however the Company's burn is still high and it's revenues have been flat, so it still needs the cash unless it can ramp up revenues substantially, I don't see where the promise for this will come from. If someone can make a case for this then great, otherwise, show me the money because I've seen nothing but failure in AETH's track record of acquisitions and business management. Let's not forget they had a war chest of billions only a couple short years ago, my how fast big cash can dwindle when you're not making money!
joset01 12/4/2012 | 9:09:55 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer A previous Unstrung Investor column covered Extended Systems (see http://staging.unstrung.com/do.... Pumatech & Starfish have certainly been in the sync game a lot longer than Aether,however, I'm not sure that they're in any ruder financial health.

DJ Unstrung
ITmonger 12/4/2012 | 9:09:52 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer True, "Extended Systems Pumatech & Starfish" have been in the game longer, and I certainly wouldn't tout the health of any of them, although it's hard to know much about Starfish under the MOT umbrella, still, look at the deals these companies have had in the last couple years, especially PUMA recently, Aether has been totally absent. My contention would be that that sectors entire health is in question as a pure play, even as important as sync is. There's several things to keep a watch on IMO. Puma's patent infringement suit with XTND and the SyncML standard which I believe will help to further commoditize sync.

About the PUMA/XTND suit; it was no coincidence I believe that MSFT just signed on with PUMA, of course MSFT has its own brand of sync. The suit may have legs that disrupts the entire sector. It might make it more difficult to sue MSFT if they're a big enough client to PUMA, might, might, might, yes this is conjecture here, but I've learned to trust my instincts. PUMA's had a string of wins lately, however I'm not touting them either, I question how many dollars they'll be able to rake in with these deals with the competitive landscape as it is. The point is Aether is absent in Fusion deals period, and even with IT spending down there's still been many deals made without them. As far as financial services like real-time stock data and analysis G㢠anywhere, anytime, that business is being poached and I don't see any evidence that they've been able to leverage this beyond what they started with.

Some of this is opinions, granted, I just see Aether as a poster child of the bubble with loads of fanfare and eyeballs and drooling analysts and investment bankers, but is the emperor Aether wearing any clothes? I don't think so. I'm still waiting for someone to make a convincing arguement for its longevity, what proven tech does it have that makes it so compelling. It does have some cash but it's still burning 25 mil a quarter, maybe it can make some expensive accretive acquisitions, it can't afford any other kind IMO, but their track record of acquisitions has been dismal.
DaveMock 12/4/2012 | 9:09:20 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer Good points on Aether and the rest of the players in this niche. They have yet to demonstrate broad penetration with their product line and as you mentioned, Fusion is still a wait and see. Actually, more time is needed to mature and consolidate this area before true leaders emerge, I believe.

But the impetus for investing in the stock at this point is that external expectations are very low (you're basically buying the cash) while management's expectations appear to be far higher. The message that costs are under control and new business opportunities are seen is a bullish sign if true, especially in this environment. Of course, this could be a really big goof that they'll pay dearly for, especially if the market does not perk up soon. But the risk on the downside is minimal I think. Current price seems to be based on continued failure, so any success should then be added in.

It's a risky call, so we'll have to see where the dust settles on this one.

angelseye2000 12/4/2012 | 9:06:28 PM
re: Euro Edge Creeps Closer Synchronization Trends:
From Personal Data Swapping To Enterprise Applications

Executive Summary
The synchronization technology used in both handheld computing devices and cellular telephones will undergo significant changes over the next year, as applications become more communicationcentric and wireless access becomes a strategic necessity within most corporations.

Right now, the majority of handheld devices within organizations are used primarily for personal information management (PIM) applications. As a result, most active synchronizations (about 80%) are achieved through docking cradles and serial connections, and are limited to updating personal calendars, schedules, and contact databases. However, an increasing number of medium to large scale companies are implementing wireless solutions for these small systems in an effort to make them more effective in the field.

Mobile workers are not only using wireless enabled systems to access critical email and remotely collaborate on projects, but they are also using Web enabled handheld systems and cellular phones to interact directly with enterprise resources. These small systems are also being used as vital links to customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource management (ERP) systems. Approximately half the wireless enabled systems in use in major corporations now function as "thin clients," with the bulk of applications and data residing on a central data resource (server).

In the past few years, the number of handheld computer systems has more than tripled. In fact, by the year 2003 there will be roughly 19 million small computing devices in operation. Palm Computing, Inc. is responsible for the bulk of this growth, with about 7 million systems based on the Palm OS most recently the Sony CLIE (Kleeay) that started shipping in September. Add to this the rising number of cellular telephones, as well as their rapid transformation into Internet browsing devices especially with the advent of the Wireless Appli cation Protocol (WAP) standard, which basically allows Web pages to be displayed on the smaller form factor of a digital phone.

By the end of 2003, there will be more than 600 million Net-enabled handsets in use, according to data collected by handset manufacturer Nokia. This number is expected to eclipse the PCs connected to the Net, which will total about 500 million by 2003. The end result is that Web-enabled cellular handsets because of their portability, wireless capabilities, and flexibility may very well be the leading device used to plug into the Internet and corporate data resources. Users in Japan already look to their Web phones as primary communications and Internet access devices, a situation helped by the availability of high speed wireless data connections.

Synchronization technologies are clearly at the hub of all these trends since the value of the applications and data transferred over a wireless link is dependent on how well it can be matched and cross-updated with the central source. This becomes an especially hard task when dealing with infrequent or unstable wireless connections, or when a user moves among personal, local, and wide area networks.


Mobile Information Management Primer: Incorporating PDAs into the Enterprise; There are three critical questions you must consider when investigating mobile synchronization and data-management solutions.

Extended Systems Eyes Carriers

Extended Systems XTNDConnect Server Receives PCMagazine's Editors Choice Rated 5 out of 5: In addition to receiving five stars, the highest ranking possible, XTNDConnect Server was selected as the "Editor's Choice," outperforming Infowave Symmetry Pro and Microsoft Mobile Information Server 2002Gă÷Enterprise Edition.
http://www.nyq.pcmag.com/print... (print version of complete pc magazine article)

The mentioned companies here; XTND, Puma, Starfish and Aether, are different co's with different products, business-models but also overlap (desktop/server sync) with certain products.

The economic environment isn't helping these companies. IT spending has decreased the last few years because of several reasons. Mobility and ROI are 2 keywords concerning synchronization imho. But enterprises have to see it first.

The Sync Market is having a tough time like many other markets as well. A guy from the field told me something like "Starfish let go 80+ people, down to 23, and those expect the doors to close in the middle of the year, Pumatech staffing cut way back, server product cut, Extended Systems has little cash (although it increased past 2Q), FusionOne let go nearly all their engineering, and Openwave chopped their Sync project"

On Pumatechs recent deals he said "...MS isn't a money maker. Puma might have gotten NRE, but I'm pretty sure nothing else. The Yahoo deal, I know Pumatech spent at least 600K of their own money to do it..... It was worth it in terms of what it did to the stock price (if you were in early), but that was purely a part of the internet bubble. Oracle is probably a small deal - 100K Intellisync SDK type, or add 50K for the XML stuff (Which is NOT SyncML based)...."

The New CEO of Pumatech has done a nice PR job but it looks more air then real revenue to me.

Patent issue: It's real weird to see that Pumatech filed 8 infringements in 1 suit after all those years when XTND sold there sync products (after XTND acquired the synchronization technology from Rand Software and Counterpoint a long time ago) without hearing a thing of Pumatech????? Why not sue XTND years ago????? And isn't XTND infringing with a lot of patents (8 in total)? Aren't they using a lot of Pumatech's technologies????? It's about 2 patents from what i heard.....time will tell.

"Pumatech's suit alleges infringement of the following patents: U.S. Patent No. 5,392,390, entitled "Method for Mapping, Translating, and Dynamically Reconciling Data Between Disparate Computer Platforms"; U.S Patent No. 5,566,553, entitled "Method for Mapping Translating, and Dynamically Reconciling Data Between Disparate Computer Platforms"; U.S. Patent No. 5,684,990, entitled "Synchronization of Disparate Databases"; U.S Patent No. 5,701,423, entitled "Method for Mapping, Translating, and Dynamically Reconciling Data Between Disparate Computer Platforms"; U.S. Patent No. 5,943,676, entitled "Synchronization of Recurring Records in Incompatible Databases"; U.S. Patent No. 6,141,664, entitled "Synchronization for Databases With Date Range"; U.S. Patent No. 6,212,529, entitled "Synchronization of Databases Using Filters", and U.S. Patent No. 6,405,218, entitled "Synchronizing Databases"."

Pumatech lost a lot of marketshare to XTND when it comes to the server based synchronization market and filed to suit in a tough period (coincidence?). Siemens switched seats from Pumatech to XTND for example. XTND teamed with interesting co's like Compaq, Ericsson, Nokia, HP, Handspring, Symbol, Siemens, Casio and many others. They also have over 130 Bluetooth Design Wins with companies like Palm, Motorola, JVC, Visteon, Johnson Control, Fujitsu, HP, 3COM just to name a few. XTND also acquired ViaFone

Pumatech is still leading when it comes to the desktop-sync market. Pumatech escaped de-listing but there are now back under $1 again......any bargain interest here????

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