Logitech's new Lifesize CEO targets growth pickup

Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:13am EST

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(Reuters) - Logitech's video conferencing unit LifeSize expects new products and a bigger sales team to boost revenue growth starting this quarter, after it reported only a 6 percent rise for October-to-December.

"Last quarter was a transition quarter for LifeSize. Our expectation is to get back to growth rates we have had, starting this quarter," Colin Buechler, the unit's new chief told Reuters in an interview.

LifeSize, a distant No.3 in a $3 billion market dominated by Cisco and Polycom, was growing at rates of 19 percent and 35 percent over the previous two quarters, winning market share and catching up with the two frontrunners.

In addition to weaker economies, flagged in last week's quarterly report, Buechler said heavy investments into emerging markets and transitions to new products hampered performance in the quarter.

On Tuesday LifeSize unveiled its new UVC software platform for enterprises, which integrates a company's existing video conferencing technology and uses idle equipment from anywhere in its network, similar to other "virtualized" IT functions.

It expects the platform, which expands its offering and competes most directly with hardware offerings from more established rivals, to be one of the growth drivers for the company.

Logitech, maker of computer mice, speakers, webcams and keyboards, bought Lifesize for $405 million in 2009. Wider take-up of videoconferencing could also boost sales of its webcams.

Buechler, the former sales and marketing chief at LifeSize who took over from founder Craig Malloy earlier this month, said he will focus on international growth as chief of the business.

"My number one priority is global expansion," he said, adding this included expanding the market with mobile and cloud-based offerings and further simplifying usage of video conferencing, as well as growing the footprint of the firm.

The growing market has spurred a wave of acquisitions in the sector, with Cisco splashing more than $3 billion on Norwegian firm Tandberg, and Polycom buying HP's video conferencing unit.

(Editing by Mark Potter)

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