Another front opens in Cisco’s war for survival

Cisco’s ongoing retrenchment in its core markets looks like it may need a boost when it comes to enterprise telephony systems. The communications giant has lost market share in the IP telephony market to Avaya in the last few quarters.

What’s Left of Nortel Today?

Almost a year after Nortel filed for bankruptcy, we take a look at what’s left of the 114-year-old company that began as Northern Electric and Manufacturing to sell telephones to Canadians. All that remains are some patents and an IP phone joint venture with LG.

Microsoft: No Restrictions on Windows 7 Version for Netbooks

win-7-starterMicrosoft has confirmed to tgdaily that OEMs will be free to install any version of Windows 7 on netbooks. This is a change from the original policy that stated only Windows 7 Starter or Basic Editions would be allowed on low-end notebooks such as netbooks.

“OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook,” said a  Microsoft UK spokesperson. “[But] Starter is an entry version and doesn’t have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn’t there anymore.”

The reaction to the three application limit was largely negative when it was first announced by Microsoft, and this limit is primarily the main difference between the Starter and Basic Editions. OEMs will no doubt still be looking at keeping the OS licensing cost down on low-margin netbooks, but at least they have the option to install a more complete version of Windows 7.

Windows 7 Starter lacks advanced features of the OS, with desktop personalization, Aero, DVD playback and Internet Connection Sharing chief among them.

How Skype Plans to Dominate Business Telephony

skype_logoSkype, a division of eBay (s EBAY), is likely to announce tomorrow that the beta version of its Skype for SIP offering will interoperate with Cisco Systems’ Unified Communications 500 system. This follows closely on the heels of similar arrangements struck by Skype with Shoretel and SIPfoundry’s sipXecs platform. In addition, the company is said to be working with Avaya, a major enterprise telephony equipment provider. These are a few of the many moves being made by Skype to expand its business to the corporate market. Read More about How Skype Plans to Dominate Business Telephony

Avaya Buys Nortel’s IP-PBX Business for $900M

[qi:gigaom_icon_voip] The piece-by-piece sale of fallen Canadian giant Nortel (s nt) continues. Avaya, an enterprise telephony company that was carved out of telephony’s fallen star, Lucent Technologies (s lu), has bought Nortel’s PBX business for $900 million in cash, the two companies announced today. Initially Avaya had bid $475 million for the business, but raised its offer. Avaya is going to spend another $15 million for an employee retention program. Verizon (s vz) recently filed a motion to block this deal on the grounds that it doesn’t take into account the current installed base of Nortel equipment. What do you think? Did Avaya get a good deal or did they overpay for a legacy business that is slowly shrinking and losing ground to Cisco (s csco) and upstarts who are offering open-source PBX options?

Verizon Wants to Put Kibosh on Nortel-Avaya Deal

verizonlogoVerizon (s vz) has come out against Nortel (s nt) selling its enterprise telephony business to Avaya, which has offered about $475 million for it, because neither the seller nor the buyer want to take on the contracts to service the equipment currently installed in U.S. government and business offices. Verizon provides connectivity to those offices (and the devices in them) and is worried that it would be stuck with any equipment that fell into disrepair. Put another way: Verizon might be forced to pay for new gear, which would cut into the fat margins on those government contracts. Verizon has filed a motion to block the sale, which you can read here.

Nortel Won’t Be Coming Back from Bankruptcy

logo_purpleNokia Siemens Networks has offered to buy several business units of  bankrupt telecommunications gear provider Nortel (s NT), according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports that Nokia Siemens has bid on Nortel’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) R&D unit and its carrier networks business, to help expand its sales in the U.S. The paper also reports that Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications are interested in Nortel’s business telecommunications unit, which includes VoIP gear.
Executives at Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy back in January, had said the company planned to emerge from bankruptcy, but as the process continues that scenario looks less likely. Instead, the Canadian company is being dismantled and sold for parts, pending approval from the bankruptcy court. Other vendors circling Nortel’s carcass include Genband, a maker of media gateways for telecommunications networks, which is said to be bidding on Nortel’s gateway business; and Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm interested in the business communications assets coveted by Avaya and Siemens Enterprise.
In March, Radware (s RDWR), an application delivery optimization company, sealed the deal for Nortel’s application delivery assets. It paid $18 million for a business unit that cost Nortel $7 billion back in 2000.

Synaptics Adds More Multi-Touch Gestures, All of Them Still Polite

Synaptics gestures

Synaptics gestures

News from Synaptics this morning is making all of the mouse vendors scurry away in sadness. Synaptics Gestures Suite 2009 is here and with it comes more productivity-enhancing multi-touch gestures and support for larger PC trackpads. Here’s a run-down of the gestures in the Suite:

  • Two-Finger Scrolling: It’s one of the features that I’m so used to on a Mac, that I often do it without thinking on PC, simply out of reflex.
  • Two-Finger Rotate: photos or pages in what Synaptics calls the “most common photo and document applications”. They specifically name Windows Photo Gallery and Adobe.
  • Two-Finger Pinch Zoom: You pinch, it zooms. ‘k?
  • Three-Finger Flick: Flick right for next and left for previous, which is very handy when surfing the web. Flicking up starts or plays, while down stops or ends: might be useful for media, no?

And about that support for larger touchpads: Synaptics says they have a new hardware pattern which supports an area up to 5.8-inches in diameter. Clearly we won’t be seeing them make use of that on a netbook unless we drop the keyboard altogether, but for your 13-inch and up notebooks, you might see a larger sweet spot in 2009.

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