Euronews: Takeover Rumors Lift Nokia
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Ad-Zapper Counters OTT Threat, Dish Chief Says
AutoHop, Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH)'s ad-zapping feature for the company's new Hopper HD-DVR, is a "competitively necessary" response to cheap, over-the-top video, which is threatening the traditional pay-TV ecosystem, Chairman Charlie Ergen told The Wall Street Journal. Ergen claims that the feature will push networks to create "more meaningful" commercials, and to pursue targeted advertising technologies. And he thinks AutoHop may actually do broadcasters a favor, because its presence will hasten them in that direction. "Ultimately, broadcasters and advertisers have to change the way they do business or they run the risks of linear TV becoming obsolete," Ergen told the paper, which also cites an unnamed ad exec who believes AutoHop is more about Dish trying to create negotiation leverage for retransmission deals. (See Dish Sticks It to the Broadcasters .)Several major broadcasters are suing Dish over the AutoHop feature, but Mark Cuban thinks Dish made a smart move, and urged the parties to come together and strike a settlement. "What Dish is doing with Hopper is smart because you have to start pushing the envelope," he said at a conference. "Wherever we are, people use the best technology available." (See Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper .)Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Vice Chairman and CFO Michael Angelakis said rumors in the The New York Times that the cable operator is mulling a bid for BSkyB Ltd. (NYSE, London: BSY) are "complete rubbish. It is total speculation and inaccurate." The Times reported that Comcast's interest in BSkyB is in the preliminary stages and that Comcast has not made a formal offer or even approached News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), which continues to face fallout from the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. and isn't expected to renew its original $12 billion bid for the remaining stake in BSkyB.An $875 million antitrust lawsuit filed against Comcast over claims that the operator "used its monopoly power to raise cable prices to artificially high, supra-competitive levels" will go to trial after federal judge in Philadelphia judge upheld some of the claims, reports Bloomberg.Hitron Technologies Inc. will use this week's ANGA Cable Show in Cologne, Germany, to show off its two new flagship Docsis 3.0 products -- the CDA-32372 and CDE-32372. They are the first to be based on Intel's new Puma-6mg chipset, which can bond 24 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels. The modems can pump out maximum downstream bursts of 1.2Gbit/s in EuroDocsis mode, which uses 8MHz-wide channel spacing. The CDA-32372 is a standalone cable modem, and the CDE-32372 is a data gateway with integrated Wi-Fi. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)
Euronews: Takeover Rumors Lift Nokia
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) and France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) start the week in today's trot through the EMEA headlines.Nokia's stock rose 6 percent on the Helsinki exchange on Friday -- the largest rise in seven months for the beleaguered handset giant -- following takeover speculation, according to Bloomberg. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), among others, is hovering in the wings, believe some analysts. (See Analyst: Nokia Lumia 'Not a Company Saver', Euronews: Nokia Cash Burn Freaks Analysts and Euronews: Fitch Junks Nokia.)Telefónica has sold half of its stake in China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU), China's second-largest mobile operator, for HK$11 billion (US$1.4 billion), reports Bloomberg. This will reduce the debt-laden Spanish company's stake in China Unicom to 5 percent. (See Euronews: Layoff Costs Tear Into Telefonica's Q3 , Telefonica Restructures, Creates New Units and Euronews: Telefonica's Layoffs Bill Shock.)Dutch incumbent KPN is looking at spinning off its E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG mobile business in Germany as a way of convincing KPN shareholders not to accept the advances of Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , reports the Financial Times (subscription required). Last month América Móvil offered to buy up to 27.7 percent of KPN's shares at €8 a share, which KPN said "substantially undervalues" its business. (See Euronews: Slim Makes His Move on KPN and Slim's Dutch Drama .)France Telecom, which already owns 49 percent of Dailymotion , is planning to gain total control of the video-sharing service, reports Reuters, citing a story in Les Echos. According to the paper, the deal could be worth up to €72 million ($90.5 million). (See Orange Teams Up With Dailymotion.)Technicolor SA (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH), the French video equipment maker, has rejected an improved capital increase offer from JP.MorganChase , which could have resulted in a cash injection of up to €179 million (US$224.5 million), because of the conditions attached to the offer. The Technicolor board has opted instead to recommend to its shareholders the earlier, lower offer from JP Morgan, which could result in a cash boost worth up to €158 million ($198 million). (See Euronews: Investors Fight Over Technicolor.)Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) managed to pay no corporation tax at all in the U.K. in the most recent financial year, reports the Daily Telegraph. The mobile giant was able to offset its increased capital expenditure against its tax bill. This news will be grist to the mill of those who have already picked out Vodafone as one of the U.K.'s serial offenders when it comes to finding ways to minimize its tax obligations.Nokia Siemens Networks has joined the Global TD-LTE (GTI) Partner Forum. NSN has been involved with the Forum for some time, but this formal membership sees its commitment growing, and it now says it is engaged in "multiple GTI technical taskforces" that address various aspects of Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD). (See NSN Joins Global TD-LTE Initiative, NSN Supports LTE TDD at 1.9GHz, NSN Ups TD-LTE Ante in India and LTE's Kissin' Cousins .)Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has Googled itself a new chief strategy officer. Jürgen Galler, who has been working for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Switzerland for the past five years, succeeds Daniel Ritz, who left the company at the end of January.
Cisco Keeps Stranglehold of CMTS Market
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s dominance of the cable modem termination system (CMTS) market continued as the vendor locked up 55.4 percent of global revenue in the product category during the first quarter, according to the latest data from Infonetics Research Inc.Cisco's cut of the loot was down 3 percent from a year ago, but that wasn't nearly enough of a drop to be threatened by Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Motorola Mobility Inc. (NYSE: MMI), which came away with 25.4 percent and 15.6 percent of the CMTS revenues in the quarter, respectively. Of the top three, Motorola showed the strongest year-over-year gains -- rising about 5 percent -- thanks in part to strong shipments of the TX32, its dedicated downstream card.Also showing signs of life was Casa Systems Inc. , the startup of the CMTS field that's gotten some decent traction in China and with UPC Broadband in Europe. It owns but a sliver of the market, but Casa secured about 4.5 percent to 5 percent of CMTS revenues in the first quarter, about double where it's typically been, says Infonetics analyst Jeff Heynen.It's been more than two years since Arris topped the CMTS market, a spot it held only briefly when Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) began to get aggressive with Docsis 3.0 deployments and looked to Arris to fuel the initial rollouts. (See Arris Snares CMTS Crown From Cisco .)There's a bit more movement in the edge QAM market of late. Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) held the top slot in the first quarter, with 43 percent, but Arris jumped up to the second spot, with 21 percent, just 3 points more than Cisco. However, Arris's move up the ladder wasn't driven by a sudden surge of sales; it got there in large part via its acquisition of BigBand Networks Inc., which has typically owned 6 percent to 9 percent of the edge QAM market. (See Arris Snaps Up BigBand .)The pie they're all chasing is expanding, but not enough that anyone should expect much more jockeying of positions for a while. Infonetics said global revenue for cable access gear (CMTS plus edge QAM) was $449 million in the first quarter, up 1.2 percent from the previous quarter and up 5.1 percent from the year-ago period.Still, Heynen says he expects cable access to put in a "strong year" in 2012. "The initiative for Docsis 3.0 and getting prepared for IP video aren't changing," he says.
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