Ericsson Acquires Redback and Hires a Streaming Media Pioneer

In a recent interview with Network World, an Ericsson executive answered a question about the implications of this "clash of titans" between Ericsson and several of its key partners.

"We intend to keep both partnerships," says Karl Thedeen, VP of Wireline Products for Ericsson. "We think Cisco and Juniper are very important for our ability to act as a solutions provider. And our systems integration people often use their products. We don't foresee any changes in those relationships."

Lippman, for his part, sees the new challenge as a continuation of the work he’d done first at Real and then at Trusted Networks.

"Redback has a great history of internet innovation, creating smart but simple network platforms to integrate broadband, phone, and TV services for carriers," says Lippman. "I believe the next wave of growth opportunities will introduce more innovation in the next three years than the last 30 years combined. I look forward to helping Redback improve the delivery of audio and video over wired and mobile infrastructures."Ericsson seems to agree completely with Lippman’s assessment, furthering speculation about the role that Redback’s current and future technology will play in Ericsson’s overall strategy. When questioned about the need for Redback’s core routing capabilities on the wireless side, Thedeen also added that the roll-out of very high speed mobile data networks over the next few years will have a significant impact on the need to roll wireline and wireless networks on to the same core IP routing infrastructure.

"In the 2009, 2010 timeframe when HSPA becomes more commonly deployed [at approximately 14Mbps], networks will be standardized on IP between mobile base stations and access gateway nodes," says Thedeen. "You'll see convergence where both wireline and wireless networks are working on the same IP network. But that IP network needs to have telephone-grade characteristics."

According to Redback’s press release announcing the acquisition, the total addressable market for IP edge routing is expected to exceed $5 billion by 2009. Redback, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ericsson, also believes there is market opportunity to upgrade more than two billion wired and wireless users worldwide over the next ten years to all IP-based broadband infrastructures, a figure that is more than ten times the number of current broadband users in late 2006.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by mid-2007.

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