A Tale of Motorola Acquisitions

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Last week’s conversation with Geoff Roman was good for more than the requisite prognostications that fill up blogs and news stories this time of year. The discussion also included the most succinct overview of Motorola’s acquisition strategy that I’ve heard yet. I’m referring specifically to the acquisitions made in the last 24 months by the Home and Networks Mobility business, or as it was formerly known, Motorola Connected Home Solutions.

I’ve touched on the acquisition storyline before, but Geoff Roman did a much better job of explaining the strategy simply.

Prior to 2006, Motorola centered operations primarily on its strength in cable set-tops and cable video encryption (a technology product known as Mediacipher). Beginning in 2006, however, Motorola decided to go after a slate of acquisition targets that would help the company address a changing broadband and video market. Here are the acquisitions outlined by technology category.

  • IPTV – The technology had gained traction in Europe and Asia when Motorola bought Kreatel in early 2006.
  • MPEG-4 encoding – Motorola acquired both Tut Systems and Modulus this year to build up a strong position in carrier-based as well as cable-based MPEG-4 encoding.
  • Transcoding, multiplexing and other video processing – These capabilities came on board with Terayon and also the part of Tut’s business focused on edge multiplexing.
  • Switched digital video – Motorola acquired Vertasent in September 2006 for its SDV portfolio.
  • ADSL and VDSL CPE – While Motorola cable modems are well-established in consumer homes, DSL equipment was not part of the company’s offerings until the acquisition of Netopia earlier this year. Netopia has also provided the nucleus for Motorola’s network management strategy.
  • Convergence software – Motorola completed the acquisition of Leapstone – the “linchpin behind mobility” – a short four months ago. Leapstone’s service delivery platform is designed to move voice, video and data between wired and wireless networks.
  • On-demand video – With the significant growth VOD has seen in the last year, Motorola acquired Broadbus at just the right time last fall.

Motorola has already made some significant returns on its investments, including the greatest revenues in telecom TV of any company, the milestone HBO customer win for MPEG-4 encoding, and massive commitments for switched digital video deployments. Not the kind of story you’ll see coming out of CES in two weeks, but a good one for wrapping up 2007.

Happy Holidays, everyone. There will more light posting here this week, and then back to the regular posting schedule next week leading up to on-site CES coverage.