Reportedly shopping out assets it acquired in 2000, Motorola gives us a hook to review the past decade.

Remember those deals? Motorola buying General Instrument; AOL merging with Time Warner; Lucent buying Ortel for $3B at 41x earnings.

Assets also shifted among service providers early this decade. Bell Atlantic bought GTE and changed its name to Verizon Communications. In mid-2001, AT&T directors began mulling over the idea of merging AT&T Broadband with Comcast.

The decision to do so took six months. It was a process punctuated — as was much of life — by the fiendish attacks of 9/11.

Much of the next eight years was a matter of sorting good deals from bad. The NASDAQ, which peaked at 5,000+ in March 2000, hit bottom three years later. In another three years, more good money having chased high risks, the real estate began to crater.

Deals from mid-decade that held together include SBC and AT&T; Verizon and MCI; Cisco and Scientific-Atlanta. As for reorgs, there was the decision to divide Adelphia between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, and Charter’s heavy walk with debt, leading this year to a declaration of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, other agents of change were at work. Cable operators installed soft switches and deployed millions of eMTAs, becoming IP phone companies. AT&T re-entered "cable" with U-verse, and Verizon pulled fiber to the sides of millions of homes, leading it to its current status as the sixth largest multi-channel video provider in the United States.

Another seminal shift: the arrival of over-the-top providers whose services now hitchhike cable plants that, far from standing still, have been variously fitted with 1Ghz optics, switched digital video, analog-reclamation tools, even some fiber to the home.

For works in progress, there’s high-speed data, where the standing order is more and faster, and the overlapping and ever-popular wireless play.

As for Motorola and set-tops, we hear the Chinese market is hot. Also: Khalid Sheik Mohammed has a court date. But that’s a story for the next decade.

Jonathan Tombes
Editor

The Daily

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