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Thursday, March 15, 2007

I’m sure folks saw the press releases about John Palatiello (wearing his Administrator of the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural & Engineering Services hat) speaking at the ACSM meeting this week on the “terribly inaccurate allegation” alleged in the MAPPS et al. vs. U. S. litigation. (announcement PR, it happened PR) The slides from that presentation are online.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/15 at 02:44 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

One day after Tellme announced their sale to Microsoft, Cisco announced their own intention to acquired WebEx for 3.2 billion.  Are the moves relevant to each other?  You betcha.  As networks evolve to support all-IP transport, voice, video, and Web applications will increasingly start to converge with each other as features of larger Internet-connected collaboration and communications applications.  We already see this today with things like VoIP click-to-call from Web browsers, voice support from IM and email clients, etc.  Will location be an added ingredient that provides geographic dimension and contextual computing processes to these blended communications applications?  With their WLAN Location Appliance, Cisco could certainly start to bring that together.     

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by Adena Schutzberg on 03/15 at 12:48 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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Pitney Bowes (PBI) has made a play for the location intelligence market today by buying MapInfo offering over $20 per share or 50% over yesterday’s close of $13.21. It’s in the business of location technology already as it owns Group 1 Software (acquired in 2004), maker of geocoding and address validation software. I think Pitney Bowes sees the oncoming wave of location-based business intelligence (BI). They’ve got the important piece that companies look for initially which is georeferencing a corporate database; now they are angling for more of the analytical space. It’s a good move but I think they’ll have name recognition problems if they dismiss the MapInfo brand. They didn’t do it with Group 1 so I suspect MapInfo will still be around in some form. Although I would predict that those units would merge.

By way of history, it was Group 1 that acquired Sagent, which had acquired QMS, all of which had solutions for data QA and geocoding. Last year, Microsoft had selected Group 1 for its geocoding engine to support some of its online mapping systems. So, I suspect that PBI can now offer and promote more "location intelligent" (formerly business geographics) solutions and go after other enterprise opportunities. PBI has a market cap of $10B and could try to secure a piece of the BI market.

MapInfo now has a big brother with some cash. Will Pitney Bowes try to acquire a BI company like Information Builders or Business Objects? I think that would be a very significant move and if they choose correctly could develop a niche market for a piece of the enterprise market that wants to spatially enable its customer database quickly.

by Joe Francica on 03/15 at 09:46 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Ok, well didn’t see that coming! (press release) There’d been speculation for some time that Oracle or Intergraph or Microsoft might acquire the company, but I confess I never hear a rumor about Pitney Bowes. that goes to show, perhaps that I think of MapInfo as a GIS company and in fact it’s more a “location intelligence” company to use its favorite term, or a “business to business” company to use my term.

Pitney Bowes is based in Stamford, Ct. (I think we had a NEARC meeting there once) and is described variously as the “the largest maker of mail-handling machines” and a “mail and document management services” company. So, it’s basically another B2B company in what it calls the “mailstream” business. PBI (per its website) helps “companies manage their flow of mail, documents and packages.”

As an “outsider” to location intelligence and business geographics I don’t see a clear connection. I do see a link in geocoding and getting addresses correct, things related to mailing efficiently, but I don’t see a direct link. What I do see is a link like General Electric wanted when buying Smallworld, one that allows selling more products and services into an existing client base: “We already sell them the hardware of energy delivery, now we can sell them the IT side of it, too.” At PBI that might read this way: “We already enable their mail communications, now we can sell them products and services for location intelligence.”

How did GE do in that venture? It’s hard to say as GE Energy and the GIS portion is a tiny part of a very large company. I can say that Smallworld certainly left the GIS radarscreen for a while, though it popped up again based on an announcement at GITA of new solutions built directly on Oracle Spatial.

What of PBI and MapInfo? Well, the small part of a big company is still true: PBI has 34,000 “mailstream professionals” to MapInfo’s less than 1000. Like Smallworld in the past, much of MapInfo’s revenue comes from consulting (Thompson and Associates type work). I think it’ll be PBI’s ability to manage that side of the house is what will make or break the deal.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/15 at 09:15 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Leesburg Today touts its local “rocket science” company Orbital Sciences by offering a history and following its two (eventually) successful now independent subsidiaries ORBCOMM and GeoEye, which serve remote sensing and telecommunications respectively.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/15 at 06:37 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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