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Monday, May 21, 2007

Motorola mops up Modulus

Late last week saw Motorola continuing to strengthen its position in video by acquiring Modulus Video (I don't really think it's a merger, given the relative sizes of the companies).
These guys have been developing great video compression algorithms and systems purely focussed on H.264/AVC for IPTV, cable, broadcast and satellite systems, such as the ME2000 SD/HD encoder above, and has been working with Motorola for the last two years anyway.
This now combines Broadbus, Kreatel, Tut Systems and Netopia for an integrated, end-to-end video delivery system for multiple network architectures.
Great for the US, which is where it seems all the video attention is - we now need to see whether they will start taking Europe a bit more seriously, particularly as IPTV is being driven from here (which is why Kreatel was so important!)
As ever it will be a potential problem for existing Modulus partners such as Sencore, who supplied decoders to them, and other customers, although they were never big on saying who those customers might be.

More of a worry would be Mark Magee, the VP Technology & Chief Architect and Co-Founder, who has avoided Motorola before. He worked at Compression Labs Inc, which was acquired by Motorola / General Instrument, and was before co-founding Modulus Video, he was VP of Engineering for DiviCom (acquired by Harmonic). There he was the architect of the DiviCom MPEG-2 encoder and multiplexer and helped define and develop other DiviCom core products, leading a team of 180 engineers across three R&D centres: this is a man who has done the big teams and the startups and should not need to work now - keeping his expertise will be an interesting challenge for Motorola.

But hey: "Our team will benefit from Motorola's rich heritage and leadership of video delivery expertise," said Bob Wilson, Chairman and CEO of Modulus Video. "Modulus Video will bring to Motorola a software-centric platform that ensures flexibility, reduced cost and fast development time."
"Motorola is committed to offering an integrated, end-to-end video portfolio designed to meet the current and next-generation requirements of operators," said Dan Moloney, President, Home and Networks Mobility business at Motorola. "As consumers demand more high definition video and interactive services, the need for advanced compression technology is increasingly important. As part of its advanced real-time video encoding products, Modulus Video has a powerful architecture and product development framework that is well suited for continued technological advancement."

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