Arik Hesseldahl

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Polycom’s Videoconferencing Business Unfazed by Ambitious Startups, CEO Says

jetsonsIf indeed the ambitious videoconferencing startups of the world, like Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network, were supposed to have messed up the business plans of established players in that world by now, you certainly couldn’t have proved it by looking at the earnings results just put up by Polycom.

Sales in Q4 at $353 million, while down 9 percent year on year, were in line with analysts expectations, while profits at 17 cents beat expectations by two cents.

I talked briefly with CEO Andrew Miller, who said a recent deal with AT&T will help its competitive stance against rival Cisco Systems in the videoconferencing space. “The AT&T deal really put the industry on notice,” Miller said.

Additional existing deals with IBM and Microsoft, via its Lync service, remain in place, and contributed to the 5 percent rate of sequential growth in the quarter. Polycom has also been battling a perception that its videoconference business has been under attack by startups. The company launched a significant upgrade to its videoconferencing technology in October. “Last year was all about people talking about Vidyo and Blue Jeans,” Miller says. “We think we have the most compelling product, heading into 2013.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work