Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ericsson's IPTV Strategy

I spent a day this week at Ericsson's Analyst Relations meeting in Boston. Ericsson clearly intends to leverage Tandberg's strong position in the IPTV headend and content management markets. It also positions its Redback, Entrisphere, and Marconi acquisitions as giving it strength in IPTV networking and access.

Ericsson is also embracing the work of the Open IPTV Forum in developing an open approach to IPTV. The Open IPTV Forum is incorporating IPTV into IMS. Ericsson told me that it will be possible for existing IPTV middleware and other software component providers to adapt their products to theis Open IPTV architecture.

Ericsson characterized the existing IPTV systems as First Generation and stated that its conversations with IPTV operators indicate that they have strong concerns about the ability of these systems to scale. Ericsson told me that it thinks that many of these systems will top out at 500 thousand IPTV subscribers. It expects that moving to a second genreation of IPTV systems will create major opportunities for it.

There is no question that Ericsson is late to the IPTV party. Its acquisition of Tandberg clearly gives it a strong presence in the market but not as a full service provider.

It will be interesting to see if its view of the market will pan out. Personally, I think it will be much more difficult for Ericsson, or any other large full service system supplier, to break into the market at this time.

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