Moto Trims Video Division
Multiple industry sources have confirmed that Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has laid off as many as 85 employees at the company’s video-on-demand (VoD) and switched digital video (SDV) divisions in recent weeks.
Multichannel News reported Friday that about half of the 150 employees in Motorola's VoD unit were let go, while 10 of 26 staffers at the SDV department were laid off. Both areas operate out of Motorola's Home and Networks Mobility unit.
Motorola declined to confirm those figures, but noted that a workforce reduction announced in late October that affected 3,000 employees is occurring across all division lines, with a bit over two thirds of those layoffs happening in its handset division. Motorola expects to complete the layoffs between the final quarter of this year and through the first quarter of 2009. Earlier this week, Motorola made further moves to deal with a tumbling economy, announcing it would permanently freeze its U.S. pension plans and not award raises next year. (See Moto Freezes Benefits, Salaries.)
Motorola shored up its VoD strategy in the summer of 2006 via the purchase of video server specialist Broadbus Technologies. That fall, it added important SDV components with its acquisition of Vertasent LLC. (See Motorola Scoops Up Broadbus, Motorola Buys Vertasent, and Motorola Buys Switched Digital Player .)
Motorola’s SDV strategy appeared to be on a fast track about a year ago when it disclosed “deployment commitments” for 24 million homes passed with three cable MSOs. (See SDV Turf Battle Heating Up.)
However, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), one of Motorola’s largest cable customers, has yet to unleash SDV on a broad scale, launching just a handful of trials as it instead pursues an aggressive analog reclamation strategy centered on digital terminal adapters (DTAs). (See Comcast Expands SDV Test Pool.) Motorola’s position as a key supplier of DTAs with Comcast, however, has helped offset some of the shortcomings on the SDV deployment front at the MSO. (See Comcast's DTAs: Security Optional and Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News