Microsoft Alumni Do a 180
The company is called 180Squared Inc. and is led by CEO Mark Cooper, a former Microsoft employee who led the development of IPTV middleware platform Mediaroom (formerly Microsoft TV IPTV Edition) and its implementation into the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse service.
With 180Squared, the team of 25 is developing IPTV services for carriers to run on the Mediaroom platform. The staff includes other Microsoft alumni and a handful of cable industry veterans.
"It's like the Windows model," Cooper says. "The idea is that Microsoft created a framework that, out of the box, will allow video services. But it's up to partners like us to really apply things like caller ID and interactive applications."
It's not so much the quality of products and services that 180Squared is marketing, but the expert implementation of Mediaroom. While there are probably 100 other companies developing services for the platform, "there is no one who has more exposure to Microsoft," he says.
U-verse is the only major IPTV service offered in the United States, but Cooper says his company's future is not with AT&T.
"We are working on the U-verse platform with Microsoft, but where we really want to focus the future is the Tier 2 market," he says. "Many telcos feel that without a video offering, they will lose most of their existing market share. We are being kept quite busy with projects that are helping them achieve that."
180Squared has three of these telcos as customers and is talking to nearly all of the others about projects of their own, he adds.
One difficulty with pinning 180Squared's hopes on Mediaroom is that Microsoft has gotten a reputation for software glitches in U-verse. Cooper says he isn't concerned.
"I think those problems could really be summed up with the real desire on Microsoft's part to get to market early. They were so committed to it that they were willing to work the kinks out in real time. The software is now ready, as you can see by the deployment numbers, and I think the implementation went really well."
To help push its Tier 2 goals, 180Squared has a hardware partner in Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) 180Squared will be demonstrating its caller ID product on Mediaroom middleware and Calix hardware at the TelcoTV conference in Atlanta.
— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading
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