RealTime IT News

Internet Players Use Acquisitions For Make Over

Taking a pre-emptive position with its hardware portfolio, Cisco Systems said it is very close to acquiring privately held Riverhead Networks. Cupertino, Calif.-based Riverhead develops security software that protects against Distributed Denial of Service ("DDoS") attacks and other security threats in enterprise and service provider networks. The all-cash deal worth approximately $39 million still has to clear government regulation, but Cisco execs told internetnews.com they're confident that things will close sooner than the end of April.

Once the paperwork is complete, Cisco senior director Jeff Platon said Riverhead and its 44 employees including engineers in Israel will become part of Cisco's Internet Switching Business Unit and begin selling its products through Cisco sales channels.

"Since Cisco was a minority investor in Riverhead, we were privy to the technology, the architecture and the traction they were getting with large customers. We were able to see those situations first hand," Platon said. "Their technology has gotten a lot of attention in sectors like global media, worldwide gaming, large application vendors and financial companies."

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has made a number of security announcements in recent weeks including the acquisition of Twingo Systems and the introduction of new hardware and software. Cisco competitors such as Juniper Networks and 3Com are making similar moves in the security space.

Riverhead's technology brings two aspects to Cisco's table: detection software that looks for traffic anomalies and separation software that targets the rogue packets and isolates them into unconnected containers, letting normal traffic proceed. Platon said Cisco found that the combination is excellent for thwarting same day or "day-zero" attacks because Riverhead's technology can "move at gigabit rate speed, sale up into larger clusters and function in high-throughput environments."

Also concerned about expanding its products, digital security company VeriSign said it has purchased Unimobile, which makes mobile messaging solutions for carriers and enterprises. Unimobile was formerly a business unit within Electronics For Imaging , a digital imaging and print management software and services provider. Under the terms of the agreement, Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign will pay Foster City, Calif.-based EFI $5.25 million in cash and promised to service the existing Unimobile contracts.

VeriSign said it will combine Unimobile's technology to build out a new set of wireless short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS) and secure content delivery products.

The acquisition is just one of VeriSign's latest steps in its extreme makeover from the legendary ".com" domain registrar steward to a business and entertainment content delivery player.

With Unimobile's assets, VeriSign said it would serve as the mediating point between carriers. The company currently has experience bridging protocols between mobile devices, including pagers, one- and two-way SMS phones, WAP phones, PDAs and mobile messaging platforms. Also well practiced in encryption and spam filtering, VeriSign said it use the acquired technology to push content delivery with third parties via a special content hub. The hub features "intelligent rendering" technology that adapts to the screen size and interconnects desktop-based instant messaging applications and offers complete e-mail support.

"Secure delivery of SMS, MMS and content is a key component for growth of wireless messaging and data services in the enterprise market," said Yankee Group senior analyst Linda Barrabee. "VeriSign's acquisition of the Unimobile assets extends its enterprise messaging capabilities and gives it access to a far-reaching network of global carriers."