Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For Sale: Cable Set Top Box Business

When Google purchased Motorola Mobility, assets included the line of phone products, a number of patents, and a cable set top box product line used by a number of cable operators.  And perhaps the thought was that Google saw an opportunity to align itself with cable operators through the box.  Instead came word that Google was testing fiber in Kansas City and perhaps that Google's new set top box could have a place in this new world.  But that didn't come to pass either.

Now we learn that Google has little interest in the converter box business and has plans to sell the unit.  "According to the report, Google received multiple offers on Dec. 7 for the Motorola Home unit, which it acquired as part of its $12.5 billion takeover of Motorola Mobility in May."  Also reported, that Arris Group and Pace PLC have submitted bids.  I am surprised that a certain company was not mentioned in the  bidding process. That company, TiVo.

Part of the value of the cable set top box is the DVR functionality inside it.  With access to so many cable operators using the Motorola box as their interface to the  home, a new owner of the business could have an immediate reach into many more homes.  How quickly boxes could be moved into the field or older boxes could be upgraded may be part of the decision why TiVo did not choose to participate in bidding for this business.  I just wonder if they even seriously considered making an offer?

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