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After Googorola, Cisco Could Get Some Set-Top Mojo Back

8/17/2011 7:15 AM

Here’s how I see Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility basically playing out in the cable/telco TV industry:

1.) Operators get spooked about what the Googleplex is up to and look for alternatives. That could give Cisco Systems, whose set-top sales have suffered lately, a shot in the arm (see Cisco’s Chambers: ‘We Are Very Much Committed’ To Set-Tops). “Is Cisco jumping for joy?” mused one industry exec yesterday.

2.) Google attempts to blend Internet search/navigation into Moto’s set-tops. This effort largely fails — for the same reason Google TV has bombed. Users don’t find value in it. MSOs don’t want to give Google a foot in the door: It’s the owner of YouTube, the Internet’s No. 1 video site, and the world’s most powerful advertising network. Google’s TV ambitions look too much like a Trojan horse to the pay-TV industry.

3.) Google sells or spins off Moto’s Home division.

“Motorola STBs will not be the savior of Google TV,” Colin Dixon, a senior analyst at The Diffusion Group, wrote in a blog post. “Cable operators will not let Google into their networks to sell applications, advertising, or anything else for that matter. The idea that Brian Roberts (Comcast CEO) would sit down and share his detailed network hopes and dreams with [Google CEO] Larry Page — as he has in the past with Motorola — is frankly ridiculous.”

Some likely buyers for Motorola, according to Dixon, would be Arris Group or Ericsson “where synergies are much more easily realized.”

In an e-mail, that sentiment was echoed by Ashwin Navin — former president of BitTorrent and currently CEO and co-founder of Web-video startup Flingo — who knows a thing or two about butting heads with service providers.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a scenario being developed to spin out the hardware business the same way Qualcomm spun out Kyocera years ago,” Navin said.

For more on Google/Moto, see:

* Does Google Actually Have a Plan for Motorola’s Cable Business?

* Goog-Moto: The Patent Angle

* Google To Acquire Motorola Mobility For $12.5 Billion In Cash

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