A truly wise, some would say brilliant, man (i.e., yours truly) once wrote:

"Many old-name cable vendors are gone. Jerrold became General Instrument became NextLevel became General Instrument became Motorola. Magnavox became Philips. Scientific Atlanta became Cisco. And C-Cor became … C-Cor, even as it threw off the image of a boutique cable distribution equipment vendor tucked in rural State College, PA. C-Cor’s name is unchanged, but its course has veered radically as it kept pace with change cable tastes. Thus C-Cor is ready to be a player now that the industry has finally started to take VoIP seriously."

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This week C-Cor joined the likes of Oak and Sprucer and Texscan and Sony – although Sony may still be lurking somewhere – as names enshrined in cable’s past. Arris, which itself has seen lives that included Anixter, Antec and Nortel, is scarfing down C-Cor as its alternate snack in an effort to become what Chairman-CEO Bob Stanzione described as "the leading pure play cable solutions provider."

It’s an interesting play. Both C-Cor and Arris had been adding pieces to their lineups to compete with the bigger boys who were always getting just a little bigger, always with the idea of attacking more markets than cable. C-Cor was pushing into VoIP and more lately video; Arris had aims on becoming the cable VoIP de facto leader, and after its effort to buy Tandberg Television crashed and burned, was in the market for a video component.

Enter C-Cor with Chairman-CEO Dave Woodle, so used to talking about acquisitions, now talking about being acquired.

"It’s a good opportunity for us to be able to meet the objectives we’ve laid out," he said. Concentrating on cable In this ever-converging world where vendors have become armaments dealers to competing wireline, cable, mobile and fixed wireless players, Arris is taking an interesting tack, if what Stanzione said this week stands up.

"We’ve always said our greatest strength is in the cable industry. Our focus in the industry is what has allowed us to compete successfully against the larger companies that are more diversified in terms of the markets that they serve," he said.

The deal, he concluded, "puts us squarely in the sweet spot for rapidly growing markets for advanced video applications, bandwidth optimization – which is just crucial to our customers going forward – and a new field that we see great opportunity in, which is business services."

And it leaves the C-Cor name hanging out on the strand with that old Magnavox and GI and Texscan gear. – Jim Barthold

The Daily

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