What a week…. a wave of mergers has hit the VoIP space. First Comverse acquired Netcentrex for $164 million in what seems to be a move to round out its triple play portfolio.
Then Genesys, a division of Alcatel that makes contact/call center products acquired-rival and #2 player in the market, Toronto-based VoiceGenie, for an undisclosed amount of money. Genesys had acquired Brazilian GMK only a few weeks back. And today came the news that Skype, (yes Skype) is buying Sonorit Holding, a Norwegian speech processing technology start-up for $27 million.
Sonorit was started by the guys from Global IP Sound (GIPS), a Swedish company that has a near lock on the speech processing business in the Voice-over-the-Net market. GIPS has filed a lawsuit against Sonorit, Andy points out. Some speculate that Skype’s purchase is a move to reduce royalty payments to GIPS.
The common thread between these three deals: picks and shovels. While most are obsessing about the consumer facing VoIP services such as Sun Rocket and Vonage, the reality is that small fortunes are being made (and lost) in the boring sometimes mind-numbing under the hood stuff, that is called real technology.
3 thoughts on “Merger Mania Hits VoIP”
Did anyone else look at that first paragraph and think, “Converse? What’s a shoe company doing buying a VoIP startup?”
· Skype has acquired Sonorit. This is Skype / eBay move in the right direction to complete with Microsoft, Google, AOL and Yahoo, Skype core biz is voice and it cannot afford to depend on the 3rd party license, but must own the core voice technology, like Microsoft does,
· However Sonorit/Camino is too small (less then 10 people), was formed as a company just several months ago, has no shipping product, has no single customer, so this acquisition does not solve Skype technology hole yet,
· This acquisition is not to avoid paying royalties to GIPS, this is strategic Skype technology move to compete with Microsoft, Google, AOL and Yahoo, there are several clear less costy ways for Skype to stop paying royalties to GIPS,
· This acquisition validates again high market prices for software voice technology companies, like Skype itself, GIPS, Camino and SPIRIT DSP
The Genesys/VoiceGenie deal has little to do with VoIP in the same vein that you look at Skype, SunRocket, etc.
Genesys is a callrouting play in the contact center space and VoiceGenie is a VoiceXML platform for next gen IVR’s. Buying VG gives Genesys a product to compete against Cisco’s Customer Voice Portal (CVP) product. Both of these, as well as GMK, live their entire lives in the comfy confines of a corporate LAN behind a voice gateway and aren’t roaming the wilds of the non-QoS’ed internet.