I just had a brief conversation with Gaby Adam of OnPR Public Relations, Digeo’s PR firm, and Greg Gudorf, Digeo’s current COO and soon-to-be CEO, to help clarify some of the issues relating to yesterday’s announcements. I’d like to thank them both for taking the time to speak with me during what is surely a very hectic period at Digeo. Gudorf again stressed that the departure of current CEO Mike Fidler was Filder’s decision, and that various reports that he was ‘forced out’ are inaccurate. Fidler will be remaining on with Digeo for an indefinitely period to help with Gudorf’s transition into the role of CEO.
The layoffs at Digeo impact approximately half of the staff, with nearly 80 people being released, from roughly 160 employees. Most of those laid off are from areas of the company not involved in product development. Digeo is looking to refocus on the development of a few key products going forward. The products that remain in development are:
- Moxi HD DVR for Cable
- Next-gen Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR
- Moxi TV for PC software
- Moxi OCAP/Tru2Way software
The Moxi HD DVR for Cable seems to be the closest to release. It is in field trials now and Gudorf says it will be released this quarter (1Q08). The Moxi HD DVR for Cable is a new hardware platform targeting cable MSOs, and it will compete with STBs from Motorola, Cisco, et al. Gudorf did say that it is an OCAP capable platform, which makes sense given the need to be competitive with the new STBs offered by other vendors. He was unwilling to state which cable MSOs might carry the new box, instead referring me to their current MSO partners as likely candidates for the new platform.
Gudorf was unwilling to share specifics on the next-generation consumer platform at this time, deferring any feature announcements until later this year. However, he did refer to it as “the next-generation Multi-Room HD DMR”, which certainly provides a strong hint at one of the product features. He did state that it is a CableCARD system, which is what I’d expect. From our conversation it sounds like it has been in development as the intended follow-on to the original Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR, which was canceled yesterday. Reading between the lines I’d say that, due to the lengthy delay in bringing the original box to market, Digeo simply decided to drop the original product to refocus resources on the newer platform as their first retail offering. (Shades of Atari dropping the Panther for the Jaguar. I’d guess maybe two people reading this got that reference.) Based on the state of the units shown at CES and what I heard from Digeo’s reps at the show, this is almost certainly the best move. It seemed likely the unit wouldn’t make it to market until late this year, at best, and by then the platform would be eclipsed by newer systems. I tried to get some more details on the unit, such as if it would be cable-only or if, like the TiVo Series3 & TiVo HD, it would support ATSC as well. But he again deflected questions on product specifics until later this year.
The Moxi TV for PC software, the Windows XP version of which is currently in beta, will remain in beta while work on the Vista version is completed. It will be released for both XP and Vista once the Vista version is completed and goes through beta. So it doesn’t sound like there are any real changes there, aside from possibly delaying the XP version’s release for the Vista version to be completed. That seems like a smart move to me, there will be less confusion if consumers don’t have to worry about which Windows they have, or wonder why it doesn’t work on their new PC.
Work on the OCAP/Tru2Way Moxi software continues. Gudorf declined to get into specifics on the software or time frame, other than to say that it is an important platform given the direction the market is taking. I’d certainly agree.
Digeo’s previously announced relationships with Monster Cable, 4Home Media, Flickr, Finetune, Accedo Broadband, and CloverLeaf Digital all remain in place. We’ve seen details on all of these, except for the Monster Cable relationship. All that has been stated regarding that relationship, to my knowledge, is that the two companies are exploring future product development opportunities together. I tried to get more details on the relationship from Gudorf, but, other than to say Digeo is excited to be working with Monster Cable, he left any product announcements as Monster’s to make. I am quite curious as to what that relationship may produce.
Again, I’d like to thank Gaby Adam and Greg Gudorf for taking the time to speak with me, clarify Digeo’s plans, and answer my questions. While I have at times been harsh in my posts about Digeo Moxi I do believe they have a good platform and the potential to provide TiVo some real competition in the DVR market. I think they need to improve some areas of the product, based on what I’ve seen to date, and I’m hopeful that this reorganization and refocusing of their development efforts will produce those changes, resulting in an even stronger product reaching the market. I look forward to seeing what details Digeo announces later this year with regard to their next-generation Multi-Room HD DMR, and I’ll be looking for more information on the HD DVR for Cable later this quarter, as well as keeping an eye out for any changes in the Moxi TV for PC and OCAP software efforts.
If I learn of any new information I’ll be sure to share it.