Microsoft has announced the sale to Ericsson of Mediaroom, its IPTV platform that powers television set-top-box services from major providers worldwide, preferring to concentrate on Xbox for its own cloud TV future.
Ericsson will continue to develop and run the Mediaroom platform for its global partners, and take on the running of the company that employs 400 people worldwide. Microsoft will be focusing on the consumer TV potential of Xbox instead - presumably, that includes Xbox 720, or whatever the new console is to be called.
"With the sale of Mediaroom, Microsoft is dedicating all TV resources to Xbox in a continued mission to make it the premium entertainment service that delivers all the games and entertainment consumers want – whether on a console, phone, PC or tablet," it says on a Microsoft blog. "And with 76 million Xbox 360 consoles around the world with 46 million Xbox Live members, it is a mission that gets us out of bed in the morning."
Per Borgklint, senior vice-president at Ericsson, sees the acquisition as important to his company's future in expanding further beyond mobile. "Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society foresees 50 billion devices to be connected via broadband, mobility and cloud. Future video distribution will have a similar impact on consumer behaviour and consumption as mobile voice has had," he says. "This acquisition contributes to a leading position for Ericsson with more than 40 customers, serving over 11 million subscriber households. In addition, Ericsson will be powered with senior competence and some of the most talented people within the field of IPTV distribution."
BT Vision in the UK is powered using Mediaroom, although plans to move the software over to a Linux system have been rumoured.