Nearly five years ago when I first started working with Motorola, the broadband business was a Goliath in the cable industry, but it certainly wasn’t known for being either nimble or aggressive. At the time it seemed almost like senior leadership was letting the division marinate a while to see which direction the market would head.
Times they have a’changed.
Over the last year in particular, Motorola has stepped up the pace on broadband-related acquisitions, with today’s announcement of the intent to acquire Modulus only the latest in a series of buy-outs. Modulus, briefly, is a video encoding company with technology for IP, cable, broadcast and satellite TV. This acquisition follows on the heels of:
- Tut Systems – acquired in March; content processing and distribution technology
- Netopia – acquired in February; broadband consumer premise equipment for the telecom industry
- Vertasent – acquired in September 2006; switched digital video portfolio
- Broadbus – acquired in September 2006; on-demand video solutions
- Kreatel – acquired February 2006; IPTV set-tops
It’s not hard to see that Motorola’s strategic vision includes serious investment and expected financial return in broadband delivery and specifically broadband video. What’s amazing is that, in hindsight, someone at the top had that strategic vision seven years ago. Even while moving slowly on the outside, Motorola has held an ace up its sleeve ever since purchasing General Instruments in the year 2000 to start the broadband business. The acquisitions of the last twelve to eighteen months are just filling out the company’s hand.