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The October 8, 2002 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Greg Baltzer has been named President and CEO at Gatespace AB, while Staffan Truvé has become Chairman. Greg was previously CEO of Vsys, Inc. and was at Intel before that. ( www.gatespace.com )

Jon Beizer was named CFO of IPWireless, Inc. and Thierry Maupilé was appointed VP of business development. Beizer comes to IPWireless from Newbridge Capital. Maupilé was most recently with Motorola's Telecom Carriers Solutions Group. ( www.ipwireless.com )

Kathryn Brown has joined Verizon Communications as senior VP of Public Policy Development and International Government Relations. Kathy served as the FCC's chief of staff from 1998 to 2000. ( www.verizon.com )

Brent Levetan was named VP North America Sales & Marketing for Xtend Networks and Ron Shani has been named Director of Marketing. Brent's previous cable experience includes LuxN, Terayon and 3Com. Roni was previously with the Microsoft TV Platform Group.( www.xtendnetworks.com )

Tony Martin has been appoointed Chief Technical Officer at Radiant Networks Plc. He was previously with Lucent Technologies. ( www.radiantnetworks.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Airspan Networks, Inc. announced that it will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Marconi Communications (Israel) Limited from Marconi Corporation plc. The Israel-based unit operates the broadband wireless access business of Marconi. The purchase price is approximately $3 million. ( www.airspan.com ) ( www.marconi.com )

GoldPocket Interactive, a provider of two-way interactive television programming, has acquired Moeo, a developer of interactive software and applications for wireless platforms. ( www.goldpocket.com )

OpenTV has agreed to acquire ACTV in a stock-for-stock merger and separately announced that Liberty Broadband Interactive Television, Inc. (LBIT) has agreed to sell recently acquired Wink to OpenTV for approximately $101 million in cash. This is a reorganization of Liberty Media's new ITV assets and puts them in one place. ( www.opentv.com ) ( www.actv.com ) ( www.libertymedia.com )

Microsoft Corp. has bought Liquid Audio Inc.'s patents for $7 million. In the deal, Microsoft gains access to several of Liquid Audio's key patents related to its technology and product architecture, including patents for digital rights management and technology for secure transfer of content to portable devices. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.liquidaudio.com )

Thomson is acquiring control of Canal+ Technologies for $186 million in cash. Thomson previously owned about 3% of the company and this purchase adds Canal+ Group's 89 percent stake. ( www.thomson-multimedia.com ) ( www.canalplus-technologies.com )

--Funding

Arescom Inc., a provider of broadband wireless equipment and services, has obtained $20 million from the issuance of private stock. ( www.arescom.com )

BigBand Networks has received an undisclosed amount, estimated to be $3 million, from AOL Time Warner Ventures. ( www.bigbandnet.com ) www.aoltimewarner.com )

Cedar Point Communications, a provider of integrated, packet-based voice and multimedia switching technology for the cable industry, announced that Comcast Interactive Capital has taken an undisclosed position in Cedar Point's $19 million first round of funding. ( www.cedarpointcom.com )

Magis Networks announced they have raised an additional $5 million thru an investment from Elwin Capital Partners. ( www.magisnetworks.com )

MetaTV, a provider of software for automating and optimizing iTV applications, has received investments of $21 million in its Series D round of financing. The round was led by Comcast and Cox Communications, Inc. ( www.metatv.com ) ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.cox.com )

Overture Networks has closed $15 million in second round financing. The company develops a multi-service product that enables carriers to develop voice and data services over metro Ethernet/IP networks. ( www.overturenetworks.com )

--Other News

The BBC and Crown Castle announced that the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television (DTT) service in the UK will be named Freeview and is targeting an autumn launch. Once users invest in equipment costing about £99 viewers are promised a wide range of digital television channels, as well as interactivity and digital radio. ( www.bbc.co.uk ) ( www.crowncastle.com )

Broadcom announced their new AirForce network processor chip and the Wi-Fi compliant reference design platform. The platform enables manufacturers to build wireless local area network (WLAN) access points and routers that support the IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11a/b standards today, and 802.11g when it is available. Broadcom also announced that Linksys is the first vendor to ship dual-band wireless LAN access points based on Broadcom's chip. ( www.broadcom.com ) ( www.linksys.com )

FreeDial, a UK company offering broadband for just £12.99 per month, is already approaching full capacity according to the Register and Romulus2 sites in the UK. FreeDial limited the initial offer to 1,000 subscribers and the rest will be placed on a waiting list when the service expands in November. The company said that its broadband service is a subsidized product, and that it aims to establish a strong customer base and improve sales in its other premium products. Customers must buy their modem equipment from FreeDial at a cost of £88. There is also an £80 connection fee. ( www.freedial.biz )

Intellon Corporation announced their HomePlug-certified powerline wall module access point reference design. The reference design creates a bridge between 802.11b wireless and HomePlug powerline networks, allowing users to optimize WiFi coverage in a home or small business. ( www.intellon.com )

Intertainer filed an anti-trust suit against AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal and Sony, accusing them of conspiracy to fix prices in the digital distribution of entertainment. Intertainer maintains that the defendants have deliberately caused the delay of the broadband content industry so that they could deploy Movielink, owned largely by the named defendants and other studios, that would monopolize the Internet video on demand market. ( www.intertainer.com )

ICTV has reached an agreement with Access Communications to deploy interactive services, starting with Internet-on-TV, to their subscribers in Canada. The service operates using Access’ already deployed Motorola DCT 1000, DCT 2000 and DCT 2100 set-top boxes. ( www.ictv.com ) ( www.accesscomm.ca )

Magis Networks, Inc. entered into an agreement with Digeo, Inc. to jointly develop a prototype wireless media center solution that includes the integration of Magis' 802.11a-based products. ( www.magisnetworks.com ) ( www.digeo.com )

Microsoft has had a big push on to capture the space around digital media appliances, networking and control. Recent Microsoft ( www.microsoft.com ) efforts include:

  • the release of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition to computer manufacturers. Working with Microsoft, computer manufacturers including H-P and Samsung are expected to ship the first wave of new media center PCs in time for the holiday season. Windows XP Media Center integrates digital entertainment experiences and is the actualization of the demonstration of Freestyle done by Bill Gates last year at CES. ( www.hp.com ) ( www.samsung.com )
  • the announcment that the leading manufacturers of chips for set-top boxes and next-generation digital media appliances will support Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series. Manufacturers announcing support include Equator Technologies Inc., National Semiconductor Corp., Sigma Designs Inc., STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments Inc. They claim that Windows Media Video 9 Series will allow TV programming to be recorded in the same quality as MPEG-2 technology while tripling the storage capacity with superior video compression. ( www.equator.com ) ( www.national.com ) ( www.sigmadesigns.com ) ( us.st.com ) ( www.ti.com )
  • the announcement that Moviesystem, the European video-on-demand (VOD) operator, will use Windows Media 9 Series technology for delivery of the next generation of the NetCine service. ( www.moviesystem.com )
  • the introduction of 10 products for wireless and wired home networks. On the wireless side, the company has created a wireless base station, wireless USB adapter, wireless notebook adapter, wireless desktop kit and a wireless laptop kit. The wireless line is all based on Intersil Prism 802.11b technology. ( www.intersil.com )

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said there are now over 10 million cable modem customers in the US. ( www.ncta.com )

RealNetworks has announced that AOL will use Real's technology for their interactive and streaming-video advertising and for delivering entertainment, especially through AOL's high-speed broadband service. AOL also will integrate Real's latest media player, RealVideo 9, in its upcoming update, AOL version 8.0. ( www.realnetworks.com ) ( www.aol.com )

Sasktel has announced a commercial deployment using iMagicTV software to offer voice, video and data over DSL to approximately 80,000 households. ( www.sasktel.com ) ( www.imagictv.com )

Sharman Networks Ltd., owner of KaZaA, will advertise high-speed Internet access provided by Tiscali to its European users. In return, Tiscali will pay Sharman a "bounty" for each KaZaA user who signs up for its high-speed access service. ( www.sharmannetworks.com ) ( www.kazaa.com ) ( www.tiscali.com )

United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), Europe's largest cable-television company, announced that it will file for bankruptcy protection in the US and the Netherlands after its largest creditor and shareholder and a bondholders' committee reached a binding recapitalization deal. The parent company, UnitedGlobalCom (UGC) would increase its equity stake to 65.5 percent after a debt-for-equity swap. ( www.upccorp.com ) ( www.unitedglobal.com )

--Industry Organizations

The Internet Streaming Media Alliance and the MPEG-4 Industry Forum have agreed to facilitate interoperability testing of MPEG-4 streams and players. ( ism-alliance.tv ) ( www.m4if.com )

New Wi-Fi Label --> Click for larger pictureThe Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new descriptive element of the Wi-Fi brand called the capabilities label. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo will be used to indicate when a product passed Wi-Fi Interoperability testing for all IEEE 802.11 enhancements, and will go on Wi-Fi CERTIFIED product packaging to assist technology consumers when purchasing Wi-Fi products. The Wi-Fi Alliance is the new name for the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance - WECA. ( www.wi-fi.org )

--Legal/Regulatory

US: For a humorous twist on a very serious topic, see the protest against Sen. Fritz Hollings's proposed "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act" (S. 2048). It lists devices that would be forced to carry anti-copying technology under the act. Check out the "Shop With Me Barbie" toy cash register. ( www.freedom-to-tinker.com/archives/cat_fritzs_hit_list.html )