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post #1 of 1 Old 01-12-2005, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Ramsey Steps Down From Chief Executive Post
By ELLEN SHENG DOW JONES NEWSWIRES January 12, 2005 1:03 p.m.
After eight years at the helm, TiVo Inc.'s Michael Ramsey said he is stepping down as chief executive of the company he helped to found.

TiVo, known for its digital recording devices, said Mr. Ramsey, 55 years old, will keep his title as chairman of the board and will stay on as chief executive until a successor is found. In his prepared statement, Mr. Ramsey said the move would allow him to focus on the company's long-term strategy.

His decision to cede his chief executive post comes at a critical time for the company. TiVo's main distribution partner, satellite TV provider DirecTV Group, unveiled another digital video recorder which will compete with TiVo. DirecTV management has also said they won't focus future efforts on TiVo.

Short of other major partners, the company has focused on raising the profile of its independent "standalone" product. TiVo lowered the price on its unit to $99 and launched a big advertising campaign. The company has also tried to distinguish itself as a technology leader -- introducing TiVoToGo, a long-awaited service that lets subscribers transfer programs from their TiVo units to their computers. Also last week, the company announced plans for a new unit that will use cable cards, which will eliminate the need for a separate cable set-top box.

Despite all its efforts, TiVo has remained dependent on DirecTV for subscribers. In the recent third quarter, TiVo reported 419,000 new subscribers, of which 316,000 came from DirecTV.

TiVo stock has dropped precipitously in the past year -- down 50% -- amid concerns about the company's future prospects. Given such negative sentiments, some management change could be good, said Dan Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research in New York. Mr. Ernst doesn't own TiVo shares.

Mr. Ramsey started the company in 1997 with Jim Barton, now chief technology officer. Prior to starting TiVo, Mr. Ramsey worked at Silicon Graphics Inc. in various capacities, which he joined after working in research and development at Hewlett-Packard Co. and Convergent Technologies
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