Clover’s Week: Pace Googles Moto purchase

Julian Clover on a potentially sector defining acquisition.

Back in the sands of time just two manufacturers ruled the roost across the United States. Your local cable operator was either a General Instrument or a Scientific Atlanta system with everything from headend to set-top coming from one of the dominant manufacturers.

The same was almost attempted in Europe, but the picture across the continent changed as digital TV altered the philosophy, and with some exceptions the two lost ground.

While Motorola was using the Swedish Kreatel to gain a foothold in IPTV, Pace was slowly encroaching on the US market, to the extent that its CEO Mike Pulli continues to live in the United States.

The bid by Pace for the Home division of Motorola, effectively for sale since its new owners Google purchase the telco side of the newly split company.

My grandmother used to tell me that my eyes were bigger than my tummy, despite the years it’s still the case, but is Pace also thinking about a larger portion?

Motorola would not be the first acquisition of scale the company has made; the former Philips set-top business that brought with it a lucrative contract with Canal Plus has already been made, alongside the cardless security firm Latens and the US gateway company 2Wire, that brought with it a new line of expertise and a technology-based customer care centre.

It has been far from plain sailing, the hard drive issue following the Thailand floods was badly handled, or at least not well prepared for, and there have been the profit warnings.

But the kind of division represented by Motorola Home is one in transition. It is far from being in the death throes, but it is clearly a major period of transition.

Samsung is working with Telia on a new IPTV enabled connected TV that recognizes the network from where it can pull in its content. The same Samsung that landed a lucrative contract for the UPC Horizon superbox.

Pace has a contract with TiVo, but we must wait to see the fruits of that labour.

Then there is the possibility that someone else may come in for Motorola, Cisco, the inheritor of the SA crown is probably a non-runner, as is Technicolor but what of Samsung or Humax, both of which have emerged as significant players in the space.