Why Didn't TiVo Sue Motorola?


After failing to reach partnership deals with the two biggest U.S. telcos, TiVo filed lawsuits today against Verizon and AT&T.

TiVo is alleging their DVR services infringe on three of its patents, including the “Time Warp” patent that Dish and EchoStar were found to have violated (see TiVo Sues Verizon, AT&T For Patent Infringement).

But why isn’t TiVo suing Motorola, the hardware manufacturer of the DVRs used by both Verizon FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse TV?

Asked that question on the company’s earning call, TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said, “I’m not going to comment on litigation strategy as it relates to specific parties.”

However, he added, “I will say that as a general matter we have been pursuing commercial relationships with multichannel distributors. That has been our focus, and you can take away anything you want to from that comment.”

Rogers also noted on the call that TiVo has had “ongoing conversations” with Time Warner Cable about offering TiVo-based services to subscribers.

As far as its financial results, TiVo continued to suffer.

TiVo’s cumulative subscriber base dropped by 573,000 — or 16% — compared with a year ago to stand at 3.05 million as of July 31 (1.58 million TiVo-owned subs and 1.47 million through operators including DirecTV and Comcast).

Revenue fell 12% year over year, to $57.4 million for the quarter ended July 31.

The company reported a net loss of $2.9 million, compared with its previous guidance of a net loss of $6 million to $8 million and net income of $2.9 million in the same quarter last year.

For the quarter, TiVo reported $4.3 million in “MSO/Broadcasters-related service revenues.” That yields average monthly revenue per sub of 95 cents through service provider partners — versus 96 cents in the year-ago period.