So, why did enterprise wireless vendor Bluesocket sell open-source PBX maker Pingtel - just a year after it bought it?
When Bluesocket bought Pingtel a year ago, it said it was going to build a fixed-mobile convergence play: “The opportunity lies in the fact that the wireless LAN and unified communications markets are converging,” said CEO Mads Lillelund last July. “As a result of this acquisition, we are better positioned to deliver an integrated solution that meets the mobility needs of customers across a variety of industries.”
So why, a year later, is the company selling off Pingtel to Nortel? "This sale is to fuel growth, and get deeper into more deals," Lillelund said this time round, according to the VentureWire newsletter, quoted at CNN Money. "Our brand is not as well-known, so we don't do as many deals...But we can go head-to-head with these companies. We compete well with them. If we can get to the table with a customer, our win ratio is 65 percent to 70 percent."
There's no word on the value of the two deals, so I'm not going to speculate whether Bluesocket made a profit or a loss. Last year, Bluesocket had 80 employees. It expected to be profitable this year, but it now has 60 employees, and "declined to discuss the company's financial state in detail", says VentureWire, beyond saying the company has 2,600 customers.
This year, since the PingTel acquisition, the company has announced 802.11n access points, to go with its switched wireless architecture.
The proximity of Nortel is interesting, of course. Since HP bought Colubris, and Belden bought Trapeze, it looks like there's another round of wireless LAN consolidation in process. And Nortel needs wireless LAN expertise - it has an on and off relationship with Trapeze for Wi-Fi - and a pathetic lack of vision on 802.11n.
It might be tempting to imagine Nortel buying the rest of Bluesocket, perhaps to get 802.11n, but taking the time to slice Pingtel out separately indicates the opposite.
So what next for Bluesocket? We have no idea. The company hasn't responded to our calls and emails over the last few months.
Update: But soon we will know more. The grouchy comment above elicited a cheery message from spokesman Ken Lynch, and an update briefing next week. So more will be revealed.