TechWatch: Major deals for Tower, Comverse, Alvarion

Israeli hi-tech companies continued the momentum of 2006 this week, winning deals to enhance their operations abroad.

Israeli hi-tech companies continued the momentum of 2006 this week, winning deals to enhance their operations abroad. Tower Semiconductor said Tuesday it produced the chips used in the sound generators installed in Taiwanese company Modiotek's ultra-low cost (ULC) mobile phone handsets. Market sources said the collaboration between the two companies was worth $5 million to Tower. The Migdal Ha'Emek-based company said it helped introduce 32-polyphony sound generator into ULC handset models, which have been used in some 10 million of MAP S32i series products over the past two years. "Among the handsets using these products are leading models by two of the top-five handset brands and a dozen well-known handset makers," Tower said, adding that research company Strategy Analyst predicted the market for ULC handsets would reach 48 million in 2007 and grow to 150 million by 2010. Tower forecast that the demand for sound generators would ramp up gradually. Separately, investment firm Clal Finance Batucha said Tuesday it initiated coverage of Tower with a "Buy" rating. Clal said Tower shares may rise 38 percent above their current trading value. Comverse Technology, meanwhile, has won a contract from European business communications provider Colt to support its postpaid billing for data, voice and managed services for its European customers. Market sources estimated the deal to be worth between $10m. and $15m. Israeli-founded Comverse, which has its research and development in Tel Aviv, will deploy its Kenan FX billing system product to help standardize Colt's business processes. Wireless broadband provider Alvarion has formed a Taiwanese subsidiary with local company Accton Technology Corp. to develop mass market WiMAX consumer electronic devices. The new company, Accton Wireless Broadband (AWB), will work to complement Tel Aviv-based Alvarion's WiMAX offerings while facilitating the transition of WiMAX and personal broadband services to worldwide availability. "AWB will be an innovative, fast-moving organization designing and developing high volume customer premises equipments (CPEs) and other end user devices based on the 802.16e-2005 WiMAX specifications, or what is commonly referred to as mobile WiMAX," the companies said. Under the agreement, AWB will sell its devices to Alvarion to be part of its Open WiMAX solution 4Motion, which uses Best of Breed systems, as well as other broadband wireless systems and solutions to be delivered as part of their offerings to carriers, service providers, and end-users worldwide. Israeli company Conduit, which produces a marketing platform for creating community toolbars has signed a contract with Google to make Google's search engine capabilities available to its network of users. "The partnership will allow over five million Conduit toolbar users to take the power of Google search with them anywhere on the Web, Conduit said. Conduit allows users to create a customizable branded toolbar that takes the best of their site, their offers and community and puts it on the customers' browser. It counts Greenpeace, REMAX, Fox Carolina TV, and over 125,000 other Web site publishers around the world as users of its product. California-based Websense has closed its acquisition of privately-held PortAuthority Technologies. Ra'anana-based PortAuthority provides information leak prevention software to help organizations prevent the unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential data. The software will be combined with Websense's ThreatSeeker malicious content identification and categorization technology. The merger was first announced December 20 and will see the PortAuthority team and product portfolio integrated into Websense's sales, marketing and product development organizations. Kadima-based SuperCom said it would deploy its incident response management system (IRMS) to two county governments in the northeastern region of the US . The IRMS solution, consisting of integrated smart card identity, field verification and accountability systems, will be used by the counties' public safety and emergency service personnel including firefighters and law enforcement, as part of local counter-terrorism task forces. SuperCom will also provide the counties with mobile enrollment and credentialing units, handheld verification units and smart-disaster-site management systems, it said. Tel Aviv's Diaspora Museum (Bet Hatfutsot) has contracted H-P Israel to carry out the computerization of its data base at an investment of NIS 2.3 million. H-P said it would develop the database based on the reservoir of information collected by the museum over the last 30 years. The Diaspora Museum has among the most comprehensive databases of Jewish Geneology in the world and was one of the first museums to use computer technology in its presentation, H-P said. The tender which H-P won is aimed at making the museum's technology suitable for the 21st century. Separately, H-P said it has appointed Itzik Ben-Avir to the position of manager for the public sector to be responsible for sales in the public sector and the company's participation in government tenders.