Alcatel-Lucent acquires OpenPlug


Things are certainly getting more interesting in ALU land.

Today the company announced the acquisition of OpenPlug, a French company specializing in cross-platform development tools for mobile devices. OpenPlug’s flagship product, ELIPS Studio, fulfills the developer’s dream of “write once, run everywhere” (hmmm, have we heard that somewhere else before?) when it comes to mobile applications.

Alcatel-Lucent wants to remind you that this is the second acquisition in recent months — in June it scooped up ProgrammableWeb, a site dedicated to Web APIs. And who can forget ALU’s foray into the cool and hip with its participation in SXSW 2010? Is ALU seeking to be the Microsoft of the telecom space?

It’s obvious that it wants attention from today’s mobile-savvy developers. With OpenPlug, ALU can now offer a development tool for its customers to create enterprise apps with less hassle. However, there’s one thing that’s missing: no support for RIM Blackberry? Kudos for supporting bleeding edge mobile OSes like Android and Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad), but I want to know why Windows Mobile is supported but not Blackberry? Walk into any sizable company these days, and about 90% of the time you’d find more employees with BBs than WinMos.

I certainly hope Blackberry support is on the road map. What easier way to make inroads into the enterprise mobile market, right? Perhaps Crackberrys mainly reside in the U.S. and not so much in France or the rest of Europe? But if ALU is eying the American enterprise market, there’s absolutely no excuse not to hold hands with the Blackberry platform…

Press release from ALU:

Paris, September 1, 2010 – Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that it has acquired OpenPlug, a mobile software and applications development tools vendor. Through this acquisition, Alcatel-Lucent deepens its role in the applications space by delivering, as part of its integrated suite of developer tools, a platform where application developers can write an application once, which will then be translated to run on any of the five major mobile operating systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent can now extend OpenPlug’s functionality to service providers, enterprises and developers so they can create and deploy applications — in virtually record time and without sacrificing the unique customer experience — across multiple mobile devices and within service provider app stores. As a result, applications that had previously only been available on more sophisticated devices such as smartphones, can now be enjoyed by consumers on any mobile device, which opens up opportunities in emerging markets, where low cost mobile phone circulation is highest.

This is the second acquisition Alcatel-Lucent has made over the past three months to expand and enhance the application ecosystem. In June, the company acquired ProgrammableWeb, the technology industry’s go-to source of API-related content.

“While demand for mobile apps is peaking, so is the fragmentation of mobile development platforms and tools,” said Michael Cote, analyst for Redmonk. “This makes it very expensive to target all devices and can lead to putting all your eggs in one, often tightly controlled basket, like Apple’s, or doing a least-common denominator, mobile web app that can’t benefit from full native device access. A tool that can target all platforms is hugely needed in this space, and OpenPlug should work well with the total mobile app development portfolio Alcatel-Lucent is putting together.”

Thanks to OpenPlug, service providers, enterprises and developers do not have to be selective about which of the many mobile platforms they will write applications for, thus limiting their potential for service adoption and revenue potential. OpenPlug’s mobile software turns every device into a smart device. It allows developers to write applications once and convert application code into native software that runs on any leading mobile device operating system, including iPhone®, Android®, Symbian®, Windows Mobile®, and Linux®.

“Being able to provide more applications across multiple devices helps service providers significantly broaden their app store content to create more value for consumers,” said Laura Merling, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent’s global developer strategy. “As service providers typically offer multiple mobile devices to their subscriber base, the OpenPlug software can help them get to market five times faster by allowing them to easily port an application to all of their devices. And this isn’t purely a mobile play — the software can be extended to support application development for IPTV set top boxes, game consoles, even the ng Connect LTE Connected Car.”

“Deploying valuable web and mobile services requires assembling many different pieces from many horizons,” said Eric Baissus, CEO of OpenPlug. “By combining OpenPlug’s ELIPS Suite and ELIPS Studio technologies with Alcatel-Lucent’s platforms and API services, we enable developers and service providers to gather all these pieces in a very efficient and consistent way. This will dramatically facilitate the deployment and the monetization of the new generation of applications that the market is expecting.”

The OpenPlug toolset will be incorporated into Alcatel-Lucent’s Developer Platform and external linkOpen API Service, thus broadening the functionality available to service providers, enterprises and developers for the exposure of network assets and the rapid introduction of new services across mobile and Web domains.

The move advances Alcatel-Lucent’s Application Enablement strategy, which is focused on combining the trusted and secure network capabilities of service providers with the speed and innovation of the Web to provide a richer end-user experience.

About OpenPlug
OpenPlug is a software provider specialized in mobile telephony and commercializes under the ELIPS name a range of patented technologies that facilitate the development of mobile phones, smartphones and the applications that run on them. ELIPS Studio offers the first open software development environment allowing Independent software vendors (ISVs) to create and deploy simultaneously in record time their mobile applications on iPhone, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Linux and other proprietary systems. ELIPS Suite is a white-label application suite that facilitates the design of mass-market mobile phones and ships in millions of Tier-1 mobile phones worldwide. OpenPlug products are used by leaders of the mobile industry such as Sony Ericsson, Intel Corporation, Arima Communications, Foxconn, as well as thousands of application developers. Founded in 2002, OpenPlug is based in Sophia Antipolis – France. For more information, visit OpenPlug’s corporate website at external linkwww.openplug.com or the ELIPS Studio Developer Zone at external linkhttp://developer.openplug.com. (iPhone, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux are registered trademarks of their respective owners.)

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow us on Twitter: external linkhttp://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

Contact the Alcatel-Lucent Press Office: press@alcatel-lucent.com

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