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Rich Tehrani
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Merger/Acquisition

Thoughts on Alcatel-Lucent

February 8, 2013

One of the greatest challenges incumbent companies face is the ambivalence and corporate politics incumbency breeds and it only gets worse in what we call the age of acceleration where competitors arise faster and technologies shift more quickly than ever. Nortel, NSN and Alcatel-Lucent are all companies who enjoyed decades of leadership in the carrier market and in the process decided to provide generous benefits for their workers which would eventually help make them uncompetitive.

There is more to it - in the late nineties, Lucent acquired companies so quickly that its workers didn't know exactly who did what. Nortel too made a great deal of acquisitions.

Dell+Microsoft=Apple?

February 5, 2013

Dell is in a mind-bogglingly large long-rumored deal to go private worth $24 billion and of note is business partner Microsoft has decided to invest in the company which has struggled for many years. The company still has strength in the data center market but the PC space is facing a major challenge from the smartphones, the iPad and other tablets.

Dell tried to go upmarket with its Adamo line realizing Apple was a threat due in-part to its superior computer designs but the strategy fizzled. In the past, Dell also tried to come out with a device in the PDA space only to see the market erode as it launched because smartphones became more desirrable.

Chinese Government Funds Global Telecom Roll Outs Through ZTE

December 20, 2012

With global uncertainty the norm, many carriers have struggled to get financing for new infrastructure projects and in fact they have been a bit hesitant to spend on areas other than wireless where ROI is much more predictable. Subsequently, the financial challenges facing Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE and others aren’t expected to dissipate any time soon. What may be a surprise to some though is how ZTE, a Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer with relatively low costs could have lost $414 in Q3 of this year while seeing sales drop by 13% and gross margins cut in half.

In response to this decline, China Development Bank (CDB) an entity controlled by the Chinese government has given the company a $20B line of credit at very low rates allowing it to streamline operations, continue its expansion and perhaps most importantly finance its customers’ purchases.

Voxeet Shows the Future of Conferencing - Stereo and 3-D

December 12, 2012

About eight years ago I held up DiamondWare as a shining example of what communications should be – HD, stereo and 3-D. Nortel later purchased DiamondWare and integrated it into its Project Chainsaw initiative which allowed avatar-based communications. Then these assets were sold to Avaya as part of the Nortel bankruptcy. I am fairly disappointed that this technology never went mainstream.

Avaya and Mitel Cross at Canadian Border

November 16, 2012


New Jersey-based Avaya, spun out of Lucent and previously AT&T has a decades-long history of providing business communications solutions. With its purchase of Nortel’s business communications assets a few years back it picked up even more knowledge, know-how and relationships. Mitel, the Kanata, Ontario-based global business communications company cofounded in 1973 by Sir Terry Matthews is known for delivering superior technology. More recently Mitel has become publicly traded and acts sort of as a partner to the dozens of Sir Terry Matthews’s companies under the Wesley Clover Brand.

Google and Dish Were in Talks to Launch Wireless Biz

November 15, 2012

Some time back I commented on rumors of a Sprint takeover by Google and at the time many thought the idea was crazy. Fast forward a few years, tens of thousands of Android devices and a Motorola Mobility acquisition later and now Google is reportedly in talks to launch a wireless service with a number of companies including Dish Networks. As you may recall, Steve Jobs too wanted to launch a wireless network and if Google is seriously exploring this option this means Apple has to be doing the same.

The next frontier of advertising revenue for Google is mobile and if carriers and Apple decide to lock the company out of this lucrative market (even partially), then they have no choice but to own the wireless pipes.

Microsoft, SNL, Sprint and Softbank News for Monday October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Microsoft is jumping into the music business and this is perhaps the biggest news of the day and possibly the week. Redmond is now offering ad supported music streaming and going up against Sirius XM, Pandora and Apple’s iTunes all at once. Boasting a 30-million strong library of songs, users can listen to playlists for free or download to own music across their TV, computers and smartphones. The ad-free version is $9.99 per month and includes access to music videos as well.

 

Why Apple Purchased AuthenTec

July 27, 2012

AuthenTec has been a major player in the finger-based biometrics space for many years and in a post 9/11 world the prospects for the security technology went through the roof for a few years and then the optimism quickly faded. Over time the company has expanded into mobile VPN clients as well as  providing mobile security.

In fact the company provides the mobile VPN client for the Samsung Galaxy SIII as well as content protection for HBO Go.

In short, the company has important technology across a broad spectrum of markets where Apple needs to be a leader.

Facebook Buys Mobile Photo Sharing Site Instagram

April 9, 2012

Even before its IPO, Facebook has decided to make a major acquisition with millions of users for a billion dollars of cash and stock. Mark Zuckerberg mentioned on his Facebook timeline that this acquisition of Instagram is the largest they have ever done and may be the last of this size.
Moreover, that Facebook will leave Instagram as a standalone company insomuch that you will be able to use Instagram without sharing on Facebook if you so choose.
The move was a very smart one as Instagram could eventually be a threat to the company's core business. Furthermore it allows the social networking giant to gain even greater access to the mobile market - the fastest growing segment of just about every tech business. And even more importantly is the cover the company has in the form of Google+ allowing it to gobble up marketshare without regard for antitrust concerns.
Reminds me of Oracle putting together a major software company with major marketshare using the cover of Microsoft competition.
Will Pinterest be next?



Vocalocity: One Cloud Provider's Path to Growth

March 10, 2012

Cloud computing providers are all the rage these days and cloud communications is no exception. Witness the growth of 8x8 as well as the M&A interest in the space evidenced by the recent acquisition of M5 Networks by ShoreTel and the acquisition of Aptela by Vocalocity.

I recently had a chance to speak with Wain Kellum the CEO Vocalocity to get a sense of how his company is differentiating itself from other hosted/cloud providers in the space. First off the combined company has over 15,000 customers and over 100,000 network endpoints.

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