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Archive for April, 2011

UPDATE: Google bids $900M for Nortel’s patent portfolio

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2011

Published on April 4, 2011
Elizabeth Howell

Google Inc. will be the stalking horse bidder for Nortel Network Corp.’s patent portfolio, the last piece of lucrative business standing after the former Ottawa telecom titan went bankrupt in 2009.

The sale, should it pass the muster of United States and Canadian regulatory authorities, would involve around 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wired, wireless and digital communication technologies, Nortel stated in a release.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to acquire one of the most extensive and compelling patent portfolios to ever come on the market,” stated George Riedel, Nortel’s chief strategy officer and president of business units. 

The bid will go through both the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware along with a request to let other “qualified bidders” submit their offers, Nortel stated. The firm aims to hold the auction in June.

When reached by OBJ, Ottawa patent portfolio firms Wi-LAN Inc. and MOSAID separately said they would not comment on whether they would submit bids.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which has 900 employees in Ottawa, is also pegged as a potential bidder. The Waterloo-based firm did not immediately respond to a query from OBJ.

In a statement on its official blog, Google said that patent lawsuits, an exploding business of late, may “stifle innovation” without reform. The California search-engine firm has already been named in several patent infringement lawsuits in the past year, including from firms Gemalto, NTP Inc. and Oracle.

As such, Google is looking to acquire Nortel’s portfolio to guard against such action in the future. 

“If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community — which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome — continue to innovate,” stated Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice-president and general counsel.

“In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it’s the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.”

A few weeks ago, Microsoft Corp. picked up around 666,000 web addresses from Nortel that use the now-defunct IPv4 technology.

The $7.5-million deal will allow Microsoft to use these addresses without needing to upgrade to the new standard, IPv6.

The Ottawa tech giant, formerly known as Bell Northern Research, once made up the bulk of the Toronto Stock Exchange at the height of its powers, with a $366-billion market capitalization in 2000.

From that dizzying high, the 95,000-employee firm fell hard from the tech boom as the demand for traditional telecommunications products fell, and several accounting scandals shook Nortel’s reputation.

Nortel filed for creditor protection in January 2009 when its stock price, once trading for $1,600 a share, was at a nickel. Its stock was delisted immediately afterwards.

It has been selling off pieces of its business, as well as its former Carling Avenue property, ever since.


Other major asset sales of Nortel in the past two years:

– March 2009: Israel’s Radware picks up Nortel’s data-switching division for $17.7 million.

– July 2009: Nortel sells its wireless assets to Ericsson for $1.13 billion, and its enterprise solutions business to Avaya Inc. for US$475 million.

– October 2009: Hitachi Corp. buys Nortel’s next-generation packet core network component assets for US$10 million.

– November 2009: Nortel sells its GSM business to Ericsson and Kapsch for US$103 million, and its optical unit to Ciena for $769 million.

– December 2010: Ericsson buys Nortel’s Chinese joint venture for US$50 million.

– February 2010: Nortel directly sells its carrier business to GENBAND for $182 million.

– April 2010: LM Ericsson buys Nortel’s share of its Korean joint venture with LG Electronics for US$242 million.

– September 2010: Swedish wireless giant Ericsson buys Nortel’s multi-switch business for US$65 million. Avaya purchases Nortel’s enterprise solutions unit for US$915 million.

– October 2010: Public Works buys the 370-acre Nortel campus for $208 million.

– March 2011: Nortel sells around 666,000 iPv4 web addresses to Microsoft for US$7.5 million.

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Telesat tops Ottawa firms on Branham300

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2011

Published on April 5, 2011
Elizabeth Howell

Ottawa satellite firm Telesat sits atop more than 30 Ottawa-headquartered companies listed on the Branham300, an annual measure of Canadian technology firms based on worldwide revenue.

Consolidated revenues for Telesat in 2010 were $821 million, up four per cent or $34 million from 2009.

Considering foreign exchange fluctations, the increase was more like eight per cent, Telesat said when releasing the results in early March.

The firm is in reported takeover discussions that could culminate in new ownership in a matter of weeks. It currently is jointly owned by majority United States economic interests and majority Canadian voting interests.

Many of the firms in the top 20 of Branham’s list have or had significant presences in Ottawa, including RIM (which took top rank overall), BCE, Rogers Communications, Telus, MDA, OpenText and Nortel Networks.

Although Nortel is insolvent, the firm has been engaging in billions of dollars in asset sales in past years, still pushing its revenues up to the 14th rank overall on the Branham300.

Just yesterday, Nortel announced Google was the stalking-horse bidder for its last major asset – patents – for $900 million.

“It’s been a slow decline for Nortel, one of Canada’s most well know technology companies,” stated Darren Anderson, the research co-ordinator for Branham300.

“While Nortel only has skeleton operations remaining, they continued to generate sales in 2010 and as such remained on the Branham300 listing. While 2010 may be the last year that Nortel lands on the Branham300, there is no question that its influence on the tech community in Ottawa and throughout Canada will live on for years to come.”

Branham, a consulting firm, stated the technology industry as a whole had “modest” growth in 2010, with the top 250 companies seeing $73.93 billion in revenue, a nearly four-per-cent increase over $71.32 billion in 2009, but still down from $75.97 billion in 2008.

The complete list of Ottawa-headquartered firms:

– Telesat (13)

– Mitel (19)

– Calian Technologies (32)

– Zarlink Semiconductor (34)

– DragonWave (38)

– Bridgewater Systems (49)

– March Networks (53)

– Eagle Professional Resources (54)

– MOSAID Technologies (63)

– Maplesoft Group (65)

– Agda Group Consultants (65)

– Wi-LAN (89)

– Veritaaq Technology House (104)

– Nitro IT Business Solutions (115)

– CORADIX Technology Consulting (122)

– International Datacasting (132)

– Iridian Spectral Technologies (149)

– ExitCertified (151)

– 4Point (158)

– OSI Geospatial (159)

– Espial Group (178)

– Cistel (182)

– TRM Technologies Inc. (197)

– PIKA Technologies (204) – tied

– C-COM Satellite Systems (206)

– ThinkWrap Solutions (229)

– PrecisionERP (233)

– Fidus Systems (237)

– non-linear creations (242)

– In-Touch Survey Systems (250)

– Advanced Software Concepts (259)

– DataKinetics (271)

– TASKE Technology (276)

– TECSIS (279)

– The KTL Group (297)

Branham also published several other lists isolating specific industries.

Top 25 Canadian ICT Multinational Companies

– General Dynamics Canada (11)

– Alcatel-Lucent Canada (12)

– CSC (20)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Up and Comers

Gazaro (Ottawa)

Top 25 Canadian Software Companies

– Mitel (2)

– Bridgewater Systems (6)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Professional Services Companies

– Calian Technologies (9)

– Eagle Professional Resources (17)

– Adga Group Consultants (20)

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (20)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Hardware and Infrastructure 


– Zarlink Semiconductor (13)

– DragonWave (15)

– March Networks (20)

– MOSAID Technologies (24)

Top 10 Canadian ICT Security Companies

– Cistel (9)

– TRM Technologies Inc. (10)

Top 10 Canadian Wireless Solutions Companies

– DragonWave (3)

– Bridgewater Systems (5)

Top 10 Canadian xSP Companies

– Telesat (6)

Top 10 Canadian ICT Staffing Companies

– Calian Technologies (2)

– Eagle Professional Resources (5)

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (6)

– Veritaaq Technology House (8)

Top 20 Movers & Shakers

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (2)

– DragonWave (5)

– Iridian Spectral Technologies (9)

– PrecisionERP (16)

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