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News summary for 5/17/07

Thu, 05/17/2007 - 8:12am

Motorola to acquire Modulus Video
By Brian Santo, CED

Continuing its acquisition spree, Motorola purchased MPEG-4 specialist Modulus Video, a company Motorola has been working with since at least 2005.

For the past two years, Motorola has been reselling some of Modulus Video’s MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) compression encoding and decoding products, designed for delivery of video content in the IPTV, cable, broadcast and satellite markets.

Modulus Video was a venture-backed, privately-held startup founded in 2002. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Modulus Video will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorola and will be integrated into the Motorola Connected Home Solutions business.

Motorola’s other recent acquisitions include Broadbus, Kreatel, Tut Systems and Netopia.

Microsoft aims at corporate VoIP market
By Brian Santo, CED

Microsoft is on the cusp of commercializing its long-awaited VoIP offering. The software giant was joined at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2007 by nine manufacturers who were all introducing VoIP phone products that will hit the market today.

Microsoft is beginning a public beta program of its Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. Microsoft’s VoIP offering will have fewer phone features than similar offerings from Cisco and Avaya. On the other hand, Microsoft’s VoIP will integrate with its suite of Office tools, and have the potential to be less expensive to implement, based on the near-ubiquity/economies-of-scale principle.

The nine companies introducing products are: AsusTek Computer, GN, LG-Nortel, NEC, Plantronics, Polycom, Samsung, Tatung Co. and ViTELiX. They have prepared a total of 15 devices that connect the workplace phone to e-mail, instant messaging, real-time presence information, conferencing, voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP)  and mobile communications.

In order to make those products work well right out of the gate, Microsoft is putting the range of VoIP handsets, headsets, and other peripherals through a qualification process. Microsoft said the products from the named nine partners are nearing the end of its qualification cycle.

Businesses interested in taking part in the Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator beta program can join at http://www.microsoft.com/uc.

Liberty Media trades Time Warner stock for subsidiary
By Traci Patterson, CED

Liberty Media Corp. has exchanged approximately 68.5 million shares of Time Warner Inc. common stock for a newly-created Time Warner subsidiary.

The subsidiary holds the Atlanta Braves, Time Inc.’s Leisure Arts Inc. and $960 million in cash. Major League Baseball has approved the transaction.

The assets held by the acquired subsidiary will be attributed to the Liberty Capital Group, the company said.

The deal contributes to Time Warner’s previously announced $20 billion stock repurchase program. Liberty retains about 103 million shares, or about 2.8 percent of Time Warner common stock.

Liberty’s exchange of Time Warner shares is subject to a working capital adjustment.

Lindsay, Incognito join for wireless solution
By Traci Patterson, CED

Lindsay Broadband, a manufacturer of wired and wireless RF distribution products, and Incognito Software, a provider of device provisioning and network management systems, have entered into a strategic partnership to develop Wi-Fi and WiMAX broadband wireless systems.

The software and hardware solution allows broadband service providers to deploy high-speed Internet and VoIP services via wireless networks, especially in rural or remote areas.

Incognito's provisioning software, Broadband Command Center, will automatically activate Wi-Fi and WiMAX customer premises equipment (CPE) for high-speed data and VoIP access, the company said.

Lindsay’s wireless hardware and architecture, including indoor Wi-Fi customer premise modems and outdoor-hardened wireless mesh access points, can be powered by existing cable hybrid fiber/coaxial (HFC) networks.

Broadband Briefs for 5/17/07

* Verizon’s FiOS adds New York subs
Verizon’s FiOS TV service has been approved in two more New York communities: West Haverstraw and North Castle. To date, Verizon has been granted video franchises in more than 35 New York communities.

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