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Comverse Technology

Company nameComverse Technology, Inc.
Company typePublic (NASDAQ - CMVT)
SloganEnabling Network Software
IndustryComputer software
FoundedIsrael (1982)
Founder(s)Jacob "Kobi" Alexander
Boaz Misholi
Yechiam Yemini
HeadquartersWoodbury, Nassau County, New York, United States
Key peopleCharles J. Burdick (CEO and Chairman)
Revenue(+) US$1.63 billion (FY 2010)
Net income(+) -US$132.3 million (FY 2010)

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Comverse Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ - CMVT), originally founded in Israel, is a technology company located in Woodbury, New York in the United States, that develops and markets telecommunications software. The company focuses on providing value-added services to telecommunication service providers, in particular to mobile network operators. Comverse Technology has several wholly or partly owned subsidiaries. The name "Comverse" is a fusion of the words "communication" and "versatility".

Founded in 1982, the company went public on the Nasdaq Stock Market in 1986. Led by co-founder and CEO Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, the company originally specialized in centralized hardware systems for voice and fax messaging and sold them to telecommunications companies and other large enterprises. Much of its funding came from Israeli government subsidies and tax credits provided to research and development for hi-tech firms. By the mid-1990s, one of its most successful products allowed legal authorities and intelligence agencies to record and store data collected from intercepted communications. Starting in the late 1990s, Comverse's voice messaging software became its main product and the company grew rapidly with the surge in mobile phone use, passing the $1 billion mark in revenues. It established a formidable position in the worldwide mobile voicemail management market and sold a popular short message service center product. While headquartered in the US, most of the company's research and development has been done in Israel; Comverse became one of the more visible success stories in Israel's hi-tech industry. It has been one of Israel's largest employers of software engineers, was closely followed in the nation's business press, and was the first Israeli-associated company to join the S&P 500 index.

In 2006, Comverse was involved in an options backdating scandal. Alexander and two other top executives were charged in the US with multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and making false filings. Alexander fled the country to Namibia where he has been fighting extradition ever since. The scandal proved difficult for Comverse Technology to recover from; the company was delisted from Nasdaq, removed from the S&P 500, and spent the next several years consumed by the costly need to restate its financial reports for several years. Additionally affected by the financial crisis of 2008 and on and changes in the mobile phone market, the company underwent several rounds of large-scale layoffs and sold off parts of its business. By 2011 there were signs that the company was poised for a turnaround.

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