Ericsson in talks to buy Microsoft’s IPTV unit

Telecom Lead Europe: Ericsson is in talks to buy Microsoft’s IPTV unit.

Bloomberg reports that a deal for the IPTV unit —  that allows phone companies to provide television over the Internet — could be announced in a few weeks.

IPTV gives telecom carriers the ability to add TV content to voice and broadband offerings. Ericsson, the largest maker of wireless networks, wants to cater to phone companies that are competing with cable and satellite provides, as well as Web-based services like Netflix.

Citing a person familiar with Microsoft’s plans, Bloomberg said the software maker is focused on delivering TV through its Xbox game console.

The number of IPTV subscribers worldwide is expected to explode over the next five years, increasing from 35 million at the end of 2010 to 155 million by the end of 2016, according to a Digital TV Research report published in July 2011.

More than 70 percent of these 120 million new subscribers are expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region.

Mobile service providers in Europe are looking for better technologies for their video platform. Recently, Telefonica Digital selected Ericsson to integrate and implement its video platform.

New technologies allow players to combine their different components such as IPTV middleware, OTT back-office, Digital Rights Management Systems and Content Management Systems to provide the best video experience to Telefonica’s subscribers.

KPN, a service provider in the Netherlands, has selected Accenture to develop and maintain television services based on the Accenture Video Solution.

However, IPTV growth will cause cable’s market share to decline to 65.4 percent in 2013 from 66.2 percent in 2012. The cable TV market will remain strong in Asia Pacific, especially due to the growth in China and India.

Ericsson is yet to gain strong foothold in IPTV market. Verimatrix leads the Content Protection category in four of the six geographic regions. Alcatel-Lucent leads in the Access category in four regions, according to Multimedia Research Group’s annual study IPTV Market Leader Report — Fall 2012.

Harmonic is atop the Video Headend category in two regions.

Huawei leads in three of the six product categories in the Asia Pacific and is gaining traction in Middle East/Africa — most of the changes taking place in leadership for the IPTV market are happening in these regions. In North America, Google-Motorola is the winner, leading in three categories.

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