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People on the Move

M&A's, Internationalization and Balkanized Spectrum

June 18, 2013

Today's Wall Street Journal has a field day of activity from Clearwire's  new found respect, Verizon Wireless invading Canada and Liberty Media looking to acquire Kabel Deutschland.

Add this to the T-Mobile / MetroPCS / DT activity and the confusing life of Sprint / Softbank / Dish Networks and you have a whirlpool of competition.

So what is the lesson here?

I think this a story about markets and monies as opposed to synergies.

On the market side with the reality is that there will be little synergies in these mergers.  Technology, management and spectrum allocations will stay in place.  However, the US market seems to be ripe for a stronger number three.

For Liberty Media and for Verizon the issue is saturation.  Growth 
On the money side, with the Fed suggesting tapering is coming, the cheap money window is closing.  










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January 30, 2011

Is Clearwire on the Market

September 30, 2010

The Taffy Pull of Nortel: Ciena & Ericsson

November 25, 2009

If the sum of the parts is never greater than the whole,  the dividing of Nortel into various sections has interesting implications.

First of all, Ericsson is on a hot streak right now.  It's announcements with ATT , T-Mobile and Verizon.  Its outsourced services with Sprint, has made Ericsson the leader in the market.  And its reflected in the fact that it now has an extra 5000 employees in the US.  

Most importantly,  It bought a cash cow for a mere $70M as the battle for 4G and LTE heats up they will be in their customers hearts already with the GSM support.

So its a pretty strong move.

On the other side, Huawei continues to capture the cable operators hearts and it will be interesting to see where the operators link between their IMS plans and the existing structure. 

However, if integration services are the story for the future, then an opportunity probably exists for other companies to build that kind of a service.

One place where Integration will be tricky at best is Ciena.  Nortel had a long history of walking to the beat of its own drummer on interoffice facilities, as the migration to ethernet continued it had a legacy mindset that carried over and doe not match well to Ciena.

So the question of how the nearly $ 800 M acquistion of the Nortel Ethernet assets get managed will be interesting to see.   My own expectation is this may be a bitter pill to swallow and Nokia Siemens maybe grateful they did not win the bid.





























I am STUNed with the Jonathan Rosenberg / Skype announcement.

November 9, 2009

The appointment of Jonathan Rosenberg as Chief Strategy Officer adds a new wrinkle to a career that started in "The Labs" and now moves beyond Cisco.  He has followed voice to app side all his career, and now he is at the right place to look at the application of all he knows.

Candidly,  I was feeling like all the can SIP save Skype discussion was a waste of time.  My thoughts were that the courts were going to be the place where this got settled and not in the standards bodies.

However, I was mistaken.  While I believe much of the knowledge about NAT traversal came from the capabilities embedded in Paradial, the world was off chasing the use of SIP as a solution.

Upper management found a strategy at a deeper level.  Namely to make it so that Skype now had the benefit of Jonathan (Prior Art) Rosenberg.

If ever there was someone who had been looking at the issues of NAT traversal Jonathan has been the guy. From the development of MIDCOM, STUN, ICE, TURN and of course SIP,  Jonathan has been there.

Mind you, the addition of another Jonathan at Skype also indicates where the company is heading even after being acquired.  You can think of Jonathan as being at the beginning of SIP coming somewhat full circle.  From adapting the Web model to telecom to now guiding the SIP model into the Enterprise, Jonathan is going to be well positioned.









Significant Skype Snipes

September 21, 2009

I  am always impressed with Skype.  The user interface is good, the business strategy is clever and left to themselve's they have carved out significant marketshare of communication users without technically being a carrier.

That is a difficult road to travel.  Virgin Mobile, Vonage, Packet8 and most MVNOs have not been able to navigate that agile path as nimbly.

So if the Janus has been jilted by the former Joltid's CEO the question is does that mean an end to IPR held by Janus and Niklas?  A friend has pointed to the irony of the Kazaa IPR owners claiming foul over copyright rules. 

Inside Avaya there is a lot of buzz about being able to join the Skype ecosystem.  It could take on a lot of different strategies, from developing media server solutions, interfacing like Digium has to the Skype network, or my favorite, federating the pbx's with supernode abilities.

Federating has been a giant problem, because the long tail of the federating has been elusive.  I was very close to it once, and the company I helped to form got lost in the weeds.  See the thing they forget to tell you about the long tail first mover is that it's the new category creation that is the key.

But if Silver Lake's Skype acquisition goes through, in theory Avaya's federation has found a new home and its not aligned with a network operator.

On the other hand if Janus and Niklas win their war, its not about enabling the enterprise for them.  The path that the current team has been on in deepening the ecosystem.  I am not sure if the partner program would be totally restored, but I would bet that it would at least be reorganized.  (As you know it was killed shortly after the announcement of the acquisition)  This could have been just an issue of not hosting it with the Ebay types, which had hosted the community as a subset for a while.

If Niklas negates the deal, the question of "what is next?" becomes significant.  Without a clear path, Skype could go the way of Alta Vista, AOL, and other industry movers. If the objection is one of allowing Skype to go IPO I think that works. If it is about the IP embedded in the system and the licensing deal is the real issue, that should be addressable.  (I have stated my view previously).

I am sure Ebay would love for this to be over, but like a diamond that is going to be cut, the next move is the significant one.  Let's hope it makes the service more precious.















Niklas and Janus Jolts Ebay WTF?

September 15, 2009

Many of us believed that the acquistion of Paradial would have been appropriate. It maybe that Paradial represents some prior art of value in the patent licensing.

In the UK, resistance to drink the Orange T

September 9, 2009

I was looking at Guardian reading about the merger of the Orange and T-Mobile assets in the UK.  This 50/50 merger seems to me a great deal particularly for T-Mobile.  Orange from most accounts was the better built out network than the T-Mobile acquired assets.

I expect that some consumer concerns are going to impact the restrictions on the merger but the merger will go through.  The biggest issue is that Vodafone the UK based company just got passed in market share by other carriers making them number 3.

Its a vibrant market and if O2 was allowed to become part of Telfonica, and has Hutcheson (branded as 3) representing other foreign investors in the space the consolidation of foreign investors is a good thing. 

As for impact, I could make a case that 3 and Virgin will find a way to work together.  By in large Richard Branson has lost his taste for Telecom is more focused on energy issues (even before smart grid became the fad).  However, the opportunity may be with one of the other large players.

The analysis in the UK about the need for 5 wireless competitors should be put in perspective to the EU's over all view.  The EU commission sees all the services as blended, as ultimately they are, so landline operators, cable and other technologies should be pointed out as reasons to think beyond the monopolistic fears.

On a worldwide scale the more interesting question is should we expect more of the same.  I have often felt that T-Mobile and Sprint would be a good combination, but they do not have a common history in the US.  But strangely enough, Orange has a past with Sprint, so maybe the ball will get rolling towards some US talks.









Ericsson Powers US Up During the Low Down

July 27, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has it right in pointing out that Ericsson has positioned itself well in the US Market.  The acquistion of the Nortel assets, its selection by Verizon as an LTE supplier and its deal with managing Sprint's network has evolved into a dominating force.  And it comes at a time when transitions are going to be lengthened. 

My personal perspective on the acquisitions and mergers is that they never go through a comprehensive integration without a year of positioning.  Leaders become lurkers, Lurkers become darlings and systems that looked synergistic die on the product management life cycle. 

However, this is a good time to be assimilating the products of Nortel since the purchasers are moving at a steady pace toward something in the long term.  Verizon had a 21% decline in profit and is betting on LTE like it bet on FIOS.  It may be that the best hope for Verizon is in the soon to be released Apple Netbook.
However, the bleeding

Assessments and Evaluations are going to be a big part of the rest of the year as the network operators look to manage capex costs to match the slow market.

Craig Moffet correctly pointed out that Verizon is good at playing the share gain and their acquistion of Alltel was the best part of wireless growth.




























Now That CDMA is in the Ericsson Portfolio of Patents?

July 25, 2009

Very different press about Ericsson being acquired by Nortel, then when Nokia Siemens Networks "won" the bid a month ago.

NSN was talking integration, had customers talking about synergies of support and you got the general sense that the deal was about customer acquisition and enabling a smooth transition. I think NSN, even in the loss,  may have benefited from the early win as well with the customer base.  They looked like they were about service and kept a lot of good will.

This time, the customer is being acquired and so are the patents for CDMA, a technology that is not normally of interest to Ericsson, since its portfolio with CDMA is not as strong as its GSM/UMTS patents.

As we head toward Release 9 of the 3GPP standards effort, it will be interesting to see if some of CDMA creeps back in. 3GPP crushed CDMA in previous releases forcing Qualcomm to end its efforts.  However CDMA has been credited with Verizon's success in the past and it maybe they are willing to regret the termination of CDMA now that Ericsson is no longer an antagonist.

The acquistion also has implications for Sprint and the cable operators since they partner and the cable operators like Ericsson's view of service delivery strategies.

My normal rule of thumb is any acquisition takes a year to digest. Now this calls into question the Avaya deal.  So we will stay tuned to discussion.









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