Cable Tech

Small Cable Interests Call Out Google

2:35 PM -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) hasn't outlined a strategy for all that cable equipment and technology it's getting from the acquisition of Motorola Mobility LLC (like, does it even have a strategy yet?), so there's no better time for an industry lobbying group and one of Moto's set-top competitors to stir up fear, uncertainty and doubt among the nation's Tier 2/3 cable operators.

The American Cable Association (ACA) , which represents the interests of independent cable MSOs, says it wants "assurances from Google that it is both committed to the cable business model and won't use its market power to run roughshod over smaller cable operators."

Entone Inc. piled on by questioning Google's commitment to cable as it gets ready to swallow a company that sells not just set-tops, but cable modems, cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), video servers and other very un-Googly products.

In an open letter addressed to independent cable operators, Entone CEO Steve McKay writes that "we don't know what Google plans to do with the Motorola set-top box business but it's hard to see how this deal benefits the operators." Entone, he adds, specializes in serving rural U.S. TV operators. "You have other options."

Entone, of course, is starting to sell products to Tier 2/3 cable operators, many of which are Motorola customers. (See Entone Gets CableCARD Clearance.)

"A by-product of [the Google-Moto] deal is the accidental market entry of Google into several product and market areas that are not really strategic to them, or at least not part of their master plan," McKay told Light Reading Cable. "Even though Google is a fantastic company, there's concern that they won't be fully committed [to cable]."

Smaller operators that may be having trouble getting support now represent "the market segment that has the most to worry about," McKay says, claiming that inquiries to Entone from cable operators have increased substantially since the Google-Moto deal went down on Aug. 15.

But not everyone agrees that having Google in the mix is such a bad thing. While there are questions about its commitment, others in the cable industry are confident that Google stands to inject cable with a much-needed dose of innovation. (See Will Google Droid Up the Set-Top Box? and Will Google Be Good for Cable?)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
Sign In