TiVo Loses More Customers, Sues AT&T and Verizon

By  |  Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 8:57 am

TiVo SignTiVo’s quarterly call was a bit more dramatic than usual. While they continue to lose customers and innovate “at a very unhurried pace,” TiVo seeks a repeat DISH Network performance in going after AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) for infringement. Basically, TiVo’s current business model appears to be ad sales and patent trolling.

Unlike TiVo’s successful David v Goliath battle with DISH/EchoStar (SATS), things may play out a bit differently this time. First, there’s likely no smoking gun. Based on the evidence presented, it sounds like DISH may have helped themselves to an early TiVo prototype which was subsequently reverse engineered. Second, digital video recording technology may not be as patentable as TiVo would like. (Not to mention, it’s possible Judge Folsom and the Eastern District Court could run out of patience with TiVo’s community stunts and their own nationwide reputation. Then again, maybe not – these cases keep them in the spotlight and are good for the local economy.) Lastly, given the language in yesterday’s call, TiVo may just be looking to force AT&T and Verizon into some sort of licensing deal.

Another difference this time around, is that the defendants are relying heavily on third party tech. Verizon has constructed their own FiOS TV DVR software, but currently runs on Motorola hardware. AT&T’s set-top box platform is also Motorola, but the U-Verse software is largely Microsoft (MSFT). So it’ll be interesting to see how Moto and Mister Softee, plus others such as Broadcom, could be pulled into the fray. As an observer, and given TiVo’s pressure to license, I hope their contracts with DirecTV (DTV) and Comcast (CMCSA) are called into evidence.

My blogging partner Davis Freeberg has tracked down and purchased the PACER court filings so you don’t have to. Verizon here. AT&T here and below:

(Photo by Zandir; this post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Bill McMinn Says:

    Now that TiVo has successfully sued Dish Network, they are going after Telco TV, Is big cable next? Comcast has ready signed a licensing agreement, with TiVo, Cable operators who don’t sign a licensing agreement will get sued. That’s how a maker of a great technology becomes a patent troll.

  2. AJ Says:

    Looks like TiVo is using litigation as a source of revenue.

  3. jane3246 Says:

    Well i got this article from google. I was specifically looking for how Tivo was going to handle the new DVR capability bundled in Windows 7 Media Player. If they are taking on giants like Verizon and ATT why not Microsoft too? Yes AJ, they are indeed using litigation as a revenue source, thier stock got a nice bump with the Dish settlement.