Unassociated Document
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C.  20549
 
FORM 20–F
 
¨
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   
OR
 
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
   
OR
 
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   
OR
 
¨
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   
 
Date of event requiring this shell company report _______________________
   
 
For the transition period from                           to
   
 
Commission file number 0-30070
 
AUDIOCODES LTD.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter
and translation of Registrant’s name into English)
 
ISRAEL
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
1 Hayarden Street, Airport City Lod 70151, Israel
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
Shabtai Adlersberg, Chairman and CEO, Tel: 972-3-976-4105,  Fax: 972-3-9764040, 1 Hayarden Street, Airport City, Lod 70151 Israel
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number  and Address of Company Contact Person)
 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class
Ordinary Shares, nominal value NIS 0.01 per share
Name of each exchange on which registered
NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
 
None
(Title of Class)
 
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
 
None
(Title of Class)
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
 
As of December 31, 2009, the Registrant had outstanding 40,269,194 Ordinary Shares, nominal value NIS 0.01 per share.
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act:
 
Yes  ¨   No  x
 
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934:
Yes  ¨  No  x
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
 
Yes x   No ¨
 
Indicate by check mark whether registrant has submitted electronically and posted omits corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files)
 
Yes ¨   No ¨
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer.  See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.  (Check one):
 
Large Accelerated filer ¨
Accelerated filer x
Non-accelerated filer ¨
 
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP   x
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board   ¨
Other   ¨
 
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
 
 ¨ Item 17         ¨ Item 18
 
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act):
Yes  ¨  No  x

 
 

 
 
PRELIMINARY NOTE
 
This Annual Report contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act, or the Exchange Act.  These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as “may,” “will,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” or “opportunity,” the negative of these words or words of similar import.  Similarly, statements that describe our business outlook or future economic performance, anticipated revenues, expenses or other financial items, introductions and advancements in development of products, and plans and objectives related thereto, and statements concerning assumptions made or expectations as to any future events, conditions, performance or other matters, are also forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those set forth under Item 3.D, “Key Information – Risk Factors” of this Annual Report.
 
Our actual results of operations and execution of our business strategy could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements.  In addition, past financial and/or operating performance is not necessarily a reliable indicator of future performance and you should not use our historical performance to anticipate results or future period trends.  We can give no assurances that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will occur or, if any of them do, what impact they will have on our results of operations and financial condition.  In evaluating our forward-looking statements, you should specifically consider the risks and uncertainties set forth under Item 3.D, “Key Information – Risk Factors” of this Annual Report.
 
PART I
 
Unless the context otherwise requires, “AudioCodes,” “us,” “we” and “our” refer to AudioCodes Ltd. and its subsidiaries.
 
 
ITEM 1.
IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
 
Not applicable.
 
 
ITEM 2.
OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
 
Not applicable.
 
 
ITEM 3.
KEY INFORMATION
 
 
1

 
 
A.           SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
The selected financial data, set forth in the table below, have been derived from our audited historical financial statements for each of the years from 2005 through 2009. The selected consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2008 and 2009, have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report. The selected consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2005 and 2006, and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2005, 2006 and 2007, have been derived from our previously published audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this Annual Report. The selected financial data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements, and are qualified entirely by reference to these consolidated financial statements.

 
2

 
 
   
Year Ended December 31,
 
   
2005
   
2006
     
2007
     
2008
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands, except per share data)
 
Statement of Operations Data:
                                 
Revenues
  $ 115,827     $ 147,353     $ 158,235     $ 174,744     $ 125,894  
Cost of revenues
    46,993       61,242       69,185       77,455       56,194  
Gross profit
    68,834       86,111       89,050       97,289       69,700  
Operating expense:
                                       
Research and development, net
    24,415       35,416       40,706       37,833       29,952  
Selling and marketing
    25,944       37,664       42,900       44,657       32,111  
General and administrative
    6,004       8,766       9,637       9,219       7,821  
Impairment of goodwill and intangible assets
    -       -       -       85,015       -  
Total operating expenses
    56,363       81,846       93,243       176,724       69,884  
Operating income (loss)
    12,471       4,265       (4,193 )     (79,435 )     (184 )
Financial expenses, net (*)
    1,769       700       2,167       3,268       2,744  
Income (loss) before taxes on income (tax benefit)
    10,702       3,565       (6,360 )     (82,703 )     (2,928 )
Taxes on income, net
    799       289       1,265       505       290  
Equity in losses of affiliated companies
    693       916       1,097       2,582       76  
Net income (loss)
  $ 9,210     $ 2,360     $ (8,722 )   $ (85,790 )   $ (3,294 )
Net loss attributable to a non-controlling interest
    -       -       -       -     $ 472  
Net income (loss) attributable to AudioCodes
  $ 9,210     $ 2,360     $ (8,722 )   $ (85,790 )   $ (2,822 )
Basic net earnings (loss) per share (*)
  $ 0.23     $ 0.06     $ (0.20 )   $ (2.08 )   $ (0.07 )
Diluted net earnings (loss) per share (*)
  $ 0.21     $ 0.05     $ (0.20 )   $ (2.08 )   $ (0.07 )
Weighted average number of ordinary shares used in computing basic net earnings (loss) per share
    40,296       41,717       42,699       41,201       40,208  
Weighted average number of ordinary shares used in computing diluted net earnings per share
    43,086       43,689       42,699       41,201       40,208  
 
(*) Amounts adjusted due to implementation of ASC 470-20 (formerly FSP APB 14-1).
 
 
3

 
 
   
December 31,
 
   
2005
   
2006
   
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
Balance Sheet Data:
                             
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 70,957     $ 25,171     $ 75,063     $ 36,779     $ 38,969  
Short-term bank deposits, structured notes, marketable securities and accrued interest
    71,792       58,080       35,309       78,351       13,902  
Working capital (*)
    150,798       97,454       124,676       57,370       54,357  
Long-term bank deposits, structured notes and  marketable securities
    77,572       50,377       32,670       -       -  
Total assets (*)
    292,149       336,912       344,267       230,304       147,533  
Bank loans
    -       -       -       27,750       21,750  
Senior convertible notes (*)
    105,323       109,949       114,893       70,670       403  
AudioCodes shareholders’ equity(*)
    154,545       175,607       180,577       83,860       84,129  
Non-controlling interest(*)
    -       -       -       228       (244 )
Total equity (*)
    154,545       175,607       180,577       84,088       83,885  
Capital stock
    130,744       149,336       162,103       167,981       170,062  
 
(*) Amounts adjusted due to implementation of ASC 470.
 
B. 
CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS
 
Not applicable.
 
C. 
REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS
 
Not applicable.
 
D. 
RISK FACTORS
 
We are subject to various risks and uncertainties relating to or arising out of the nature of our business and general business, economic, financing, legal and other factors or conditions that may affect us. We believe that the occurrence of any one or some combination of the following factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.

 
4

 
 
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
 
We reported losses in 2007, 2008 and 2009. We may experience additional losses in the future.
 
We reported a net loss of $8.7 million in 2007, $85.8 million in 2008 and $2.8 million in 2009. The loss in 2008 included a non-cash impairment charge of $86.1 million taken in the fourth quarter of 2008 with respect to goodwill, intangible assets and investment in an affiliate. The majority of our expenses are directly and indirectly related to the number of people we employ.  We may increase our expenses based on projections of revenue growth. If at any given time we do not meet our expectations for growth in revenues our expenses incurred in anticipation of projected revenues may cause us to incur a loss. We may not be able to anticipate a loss in advance and adjust our variable costs accordingly. We will need to increase revenues and reduce expenses in order to return to profitability.
 
We have depended, and expect to continue to depend, on a small number of large customers. Our largest customer, Nortel Networks, filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. Nortel has sold a number of its business units and is continuing to sell business units and liquidate assets in the bankruptcy proceeding. The loss of Nortel or one of our other large customers or the reduction in purchases by a significant customer or failure of such customer to pay for the products it purchases from us could have a material adverse effect on our revenues.
 
Historically, a substantial portion of our revenue has been derived from large purchases by a small number of original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, and network equipment providers, or NEPs, systems integrators and distributors. For example, our top three customers accounted for approximately 26.1% of our revenues in 2007 20.9% of our revenues in 2008 and 25.7% of our revenues in 2009. Based on our experience, we expect that our customer base may change from period to period. If we lose a large customer and fail to add new customers, or if purchases made by such customers are significantly reduced, there could be a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
Sales to Nortel Networks, our largest customer, accounted for 15.6% of our revenues in 2009 compared to 14.4% of our revenues in 2008 and 17.0% of our revenues in 2007 ..  Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. As a result of this bankruptcy filing, $1.7 million of sales to Nortel in the fourth quarter of 2008 were recorded as unpaid deferred revenues which also reduced trade receivables on our balance sheet. During 2009, Nortel returned to us products with a sales price of $706,000, which reduced our unpaid deferred revenues by this amount. Nortel has sold a number of its business units and is continuing to sell business units and liquidate assets in the bankruptcy proceeding. Some of the business units sold by Nortel were customers of ours. We cannot be sure if Nortel or business units sold by Nortel that were customers of ours will continue to purchase products from us or, if Nortel sells additional business units that deal with us, any purchaser of those business units will continue to do business with us. Any significant reduction in sales to Nortel and those business units sold by Nortel that were customers of ours, or the inability to collect a significant portion of amounts owed to us by Nortel, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 
5

 
 
Recent and future economic conditions, including turmoil in the financial and credit markets, may adversely affect our business.
 
The general economic downturn, including disruptions in the world credit and equity markets, has had and continues to have a significant negative impact on business around the world.  The impact of the current economic environment on the technology industry and our major customers has been significant.  Conditions may continue to be depressed or may be subject to further deterioration which could lead to a further reduction in consumer and customer spending overall, which could have an adverse impact on sales of our products.  A disruption in the ability of our significant customers to access liquidity could cause serious disruptions or an overall deterioration of their businesses which could lead to a significant reduction in their orders of our products and the inability or failure on their part to meet their payment obligations to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity.  A significant adverse change in a customer’s financial and/or credit position could also require us to assume greater credit risk relating to that customer’s receivables or could limit our ability to collect receivables related to previous purchases by that customer.  As a result, our reserves for doubtful accounts and write-offs of accounts receivable may increase.
 
We may need additional financing to operate or grow our business. We may not be able to raise additional financing for our capital needs on favorable terms, or at all, which could limit our ability to grow and to continue our longer term expansion plans.
 
We may need additional financing to operate our business or continue our longer term expansion plans. To the extent that we cannot fund our activities and acquisitions through our existing cash resources and any cash we generate from operations, we may need to raise equity or debt funds through additional public or private financings. In November 2009, we were required to use $73.1 million to repurchase almost all of our outstanding senior convertible notes in accordance with the terms of the notes. We borrowed $30 million in 2008 that is repayable in 20 equal quarterly payments of $1.5 million from August, 2008 through July 2013. We will need to pay these installments and could also be required to repay all or portion of these bank loans if we do not comply with covenants in our loan agreements with respect to maintaining shareholders' equity at specified levels or achieving certain levels of operating income.  We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain additional financing on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. This could inhibit our growth, increase our financing costs or cause us severe financial difficulties.
 
We are party to an agreement for the construction and long-term lease of a new building in Israel. We do not currently need all of the space that will be contained in this building. If we are unable to sublease the property under reasonable commercial terms, we may incur increased operating expenses which could adversely affect our results of operations.
 
In May, 2007, we entered into an agreement with respect to property adjacent to our headquarters in Israel, pursuant to which a building of approximately 145,000 square feet is being erected and will be leased to us for a period of eleven years. This new building was substantially completed on a structural level in May 2010. The landlord claims that we should have taken delivery of the building at that time and started paying rent. We have disagreed with the landlord’s interpretation of the relevant agreement. This dispute may be referred to arbitration. We cannot predict the outcome of any arbitration proceeding or the effect on us if we were to lose an arbitration proceeding. We estimate the annual lease payments (including management fees) to be in the range of $2.0 million to $3.2 million, depending on the amount expended on improvements made to the building.

 
6

 
 
At the time we entered into the agreement in 2007, the leased property was intended to serve our expanding needs. However, in view of current economic conditions and our reduction in personnel undertaken since 2008, we do not need to occupy the entire building and may seek to sublease all or a portion of the new building to third parties. If we are unable to enter into a sublease or enter into a sublease for an amount that is less than our obligations under the lease, we may incur significant additional operating expenses which could adversely affect our results of operations.
 
We are dependent on the development of the VoIP market to increase our sales.
 
We are dependent on the development of the Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, market to increase our sales. Most existing networks are still not based on Voice over Packet technology which we use in our products designed for the VoIP market. We cannot be sure that the delivery of telephone and other communications services over packet networks will expand or that there will be a need to interconnect to other networks utilizing the type of technology contained in our products. For example, the need for our media gateway products depends on the need to interconnect VoIP networks with traditional non-packet based networks. Our session border control products depend on growth in the need to interconnect Voice over Packet networks with each other. The adaptation process of connecting packet networks and telephone networks can be time consuming and costly. Sales of our VoIP products will depend on the development of packet networks and the commercialization of VoIP services.  If this market develops more slowly than we expect, we may not be able to sell our products in a significant enough volume to be profitable.
 
We may expand our business through acquisitions that could result in diversion of resources and extra expenses. This could disrupt our business and affect our results of operations.
 
Part of our strategy is to pursue acquisitions of, or investments in, businesses and technologies or to establish joint ventures to expand our business. For example, in April 2003, we purchased a product group from Nortel Networks and in May 2004 we purchased Ai-Logix Inc., now known as AudioCodes Inc.  In 2005, we invested in two Israeli-based companies, MailVision Ltd. and CTI Squared Ltd., and continued investing in Natural Speech Communication Ltd.  We have recognized losses from our equity investment in Natural Speech Communication in our results of operations in each of the past three years. In December 2008, we began consolidating the financial results of Natural Speech Communication in our financial results and in May 2010 we acquired the remaining shares of Natural Speech Communications that were not previously owned by us. In July 2006, we acquired Nuera Communications, Inc. (which merged into AudioCodes Inc.), in August 2006, we acquired Netrake Corporation (which merged into AudioCodes Inc.), and in April 2007, we completed our acquisition of CTI Squared Ltd.

 
7

 
 
The negotiation of acquisitions, investments or joint ventures, as well as the integration of acquired or jointly developed businesses or technologies, could divert our management’s time and resources.  Acquired businesses, technologies or joint ventures may not be successfully integrated with our products and operations. The markets for the products produced by the companies we acquire may take longer than we anticipated to develop and to result in increased sales and profits for us. We may not realize the intended benefits of any acquisition, investment or joint venture and we may incur losses from any acquisition, investment or joint venture.
 
The future valuation of acquired businesses may be less than the purchase price we paid and result in impairment charges related to goodwill or intangible assets.  During the fourth quarter of 2008, we recognized non-cash impairment charges of $86.1 million with respect to goodwill and intangible assets related to our acquisitions and an investment in an affiliated company.
 
In addition, acquisitions could result in:
 
 
·
substantial cash expenditures;
 
·
potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities;
 
·
the incurrence of debt and contingent liabilities;
 
·
a decrease in our profit margins;
 
·
amortization of intangibles and potential impairment of goodwill and intangible assets, such as occurred during 2008;
 
·
reduction of management attention to other parts of the business;
 
·
failure to invest in different areas or alternative investments;
 
·
failure to generate expected financial results or reach business goals; and
 
·
increased expenditures on human resources and related costs.
 
If acquisitions disrupt our sales or marketing efforts or operations, our business may suffer.
 
We recorded significant charges for the impairment of goodwill and intangible assets during the fourth quarter of 2008 which caused us to report a net loss for 2008.  If our goodwill and other intangible assets become further impaired, we may be required to record additional charges to earnings.
 
We recorded aggregate charges of $86.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 for impairment charges with respect to goodwill and intangible assets related to our acquisitions and an investment in an affiliated company. As a result, we reported a net loss for 2008. As of December 31, 2009, we had goodwill and other intangible assets in an aggregate amount of $38.9 million, or approximately 26.4% of our total assets and 46.5% of our shareholders’ equity. Under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, we review our goodwill and other intangible assets for impairment annually during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year and when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable.  The carrying value of our goodwill and other intangible assets may not be recoverable due to factors such as a decline in our stock price and market capitalization, reduced estimates of future cash flows and profitability and slower growth rates in our industry.  Our impairment charges in 2008 were primarily the result of a decrease in our market capitalization.  Estimates of future cash flows and profitability are based on an updated long-term financial outlook of our operations. However, actual performance in the near-term or long-term could be materially different from these forecasts, which could impact future estimates.  A further significant decline in our market capitalization or deterioration in our projected results could result in additional impairment of goodwill and/or intangible assets.  We may be required in the future to record a significant charge to earnings in our financial statements during a period in which an impairment of our goodwill is determined to exist, as happened in 2008, which would negatively impact our results of operations and could negatively impact our stock price.

 
8

 
 
If new products we recently introduced or expect to introduce in the future fail to generate the level of demand we anticipated, we will realize a lower than expected return from our investment in research and development with respect to those products, and our results of operations may suffer.
 
Our success is dependent, in part, on the willingness of our customers to transition or migrate to new products, such as our expanded offering of Mediant and IPmedia products, our session border controller products, the multi service business gateways (MSBGs), our software application products or expected future products. We are involved in a continuous process of evaluating changing market demands and customer requirements in order to develop and introduce new products, features and applications to meet changing demands and requirements. We need to be able to interpret market trends and the advancement of technology in order to successfully develop and introduce new products, features and applications. If potential customers defer transition or migration to new products, our return on our investment in research and development with respect to products recently introduced or expected to be introduced in the near future will be lower than we originally anticipated and our results of our operations may suffer.
 
Because of the rapid technological development in the communications equipment market and the intense competition we face, our products can become outmoded or obsolete in a relatively short period of time, which requires us to provide frequent updates and/or replacements to existing products.  If we do not successfully manage the transition process to the next generation of our products, our operating results may be harmed.
 
The communications equipment market is characterized by rapid technological innovation and intense competition. Accordingly, our success depends in part on our ability to develop next generation products in a timely and cost-effective manner. The development of new products is expensive, complex and time consuming. If we do not rapidly develop our next generation products ahead of our competitors, we may lose both existing and potential customers to our competitors. Further, if a competitor develops a new, less expensive product using a different technological approach to delivering informational services over existing networks, our products would no longer be competitive. Conversely, even if we are successful in rapidly developing new products ahead of our competitors and we do not cost-effectively manage our inventory levels of existing products when making the transition to the new products, our financial results could be negatively affected by high levels of obsolete inventory. If any of the foregoing were to occur, then our operating results would be harmed.

 
9

 
 
Our industry is rapidly evolving and we may not be able to keep pace with technological changes, which could adversely affect our business.
 
The transmission of multimedia over data networks is rapidly evolving. Short product life cycles place a premium on our ability to manage the transition from current products to new products.  Our future success in generating revenues will depend on our ability to enhance our existing products and to develop and introduce new products and product features. These products and features must keep pace with technological developments and address the increasingly sophisticated needs of our customers. The development of new technologies and products is increasingly complex and uncertain. This increases the difficulty in coordinating the planning and production process and can result in delay in the introduction of new technologies and products.
 
The increase in the number of IP networks may adversely affect the demand for media gateway products.
 
Media gateway products are primarily intended to transcode voice from traditional telephony networks to IP networks and vise versa. Along with the growth in the number of IP networks, there has been an increase in the amount of information that is sent directly from one IP network to another IP network. This direct network communication potentially obviates the need to use a media gateway or transcoding. A reduction in the demand for media gateways may adversely affect the demand for our media gateway products and, in turn, adversely affect our results of operations.
 
New industry standards, the modification of our products to meet additional existing standards or the addition of features to our products may delay the introduction of our products or increase our costs.
 
The industry standards that apply to our products are continually evolving. In addition, since our products are integrated into networks consisting of elements manufactured by various companies, they must comply with a number of industry standards and practices established by various international bodies and industry forums.  Should new standards gain broad acceptance, we will be required to adopt those standards in our products. We may also decide to modify our products to meet additional existing standards or add features to our products. Standards may be adopted by various industry interest groups or may be proprietary and nonetheless accepted broadly in the industry. It may take us a significant amount of time to develop and design products incorporating these new standards. We may also have to pay additional fees to the developers of the technologies which constitute the newly adopted standards.
 
Our OEM customers or potential customers may develop or prefer to develop their own technical solutions, and as a result, would not buy our products.
 
Our products are sold also as components or building blocks to large OEMs and NEPs. These customers incorporate our products into their product offerings, usually in conjunction with value-added services of their own or of third parties. OEM or NEP customers or potential customers may prefer to develop their own technology or purchase third party technology. They could also manufacture their own components or building blocks that are similar to the ones we offer. Large customers have already committed significant resources in developing integrated product offerings. Customers may decide that this gives them better profitability and/or greater control over supplies, specifications and performance. Customers may therefore not buy components or products from an external manufacturer such as us. This could have an adverse impact on our ability to sell our products and our revenues.

 
10

 
 
We have a limited order backlog. If revenue levels for any quarter fall below our expectations, our results of operations will be adversely affected.
 
We have a limited order backlog, which makes revenues in any quarter substantially dependent on orders received and delivered in that quarter. A delay in the recognition of revenue, even from one customer, may have a significant negative impact on our results of operations for a given period. We base our decisions regarding our operating expenses on anticipated revenue trends, and our expense levels are relatively fixed, or require some time for adjustment. Because only a small portion of our expenses varies with our revenues, if revenue levels fall below our expectations, our results of operations will be adversely affected.
 
Generally, we sell to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, network equipment providers or system integrator customers, as well as to distributors.  As a result, we have less information with respect to the actual requirements of end-users and their utilization of equipment. We also have less influence over the choice of equipment by these end-users.
 
We typically sell to OEM customers, network equipment providers, and system integrators, as well as to distributors. Our customers usually purchase equipment from several suppliers and may be trying to fulfill one of their customers’ specific technical specifications. We rely heavily on our customers for sales of our products and to inform us about market trends and the needs of their customers. We cannot be certain that this information is accurate. If the information we receive is not accurate, we may be manufacturing products that do not have a customer or fail to manufacture products that end-users want. Because we are selling products to OEMs, system integrators and distributors rather than directly to end-users, we have less control over the ultimate selection of products by end-users.
 
The markets we serve are highly competitive and many of our competitors have much greater resources, which may make it difficult for us to maintain profitability.
 
Competition in our industry is intense and we expect competition to increase in the future. Our competitors currently sell products that provide similar benefits to those that we sell. There has been a significant amount of merger and acquisition activity and strategic alliances, frequently involving major telecommunications equipment manufacturers acquiring smaller companies, and we expect that this will result in an increasing concentration of market share among these companies, many of whom are our customers.

 
11

 
 
Our principal competitors in the area of analog media gateways (2 to 24 ports) for access and enterprise are Linksys (a division of Cisco Systems, Inc.), Mediatrix Telecom, Inc., Vega Stream Limited, Samsung, Innovaphone AG, Net.com/Quintum Technologies, Tainet Communication System Corp., Welltech, Ascii Corp., D-Link Systems, Inc., Multitech Inc., Inomedia, OKI and LG. In the area of low density digital gateway and multi-service business gateways we face competition from companies such as Cisco, Adtran, Oneaccess, and more specifically in the enterprise class Session Border Controller technology with ACME Packet (Convergence), SIPera, Ingate and Edwater. In addition we face competition in low, mid and high density gateways from companies such as Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia-Siemens, Huawei, Ericsson, UTstarcom, ZTE and from Cisco Systems, Inc., Veraz Networks, Sonus Networks, General Bandwidth, Dialogic/Cantat Technologies and Commatch (Telrad), some of which are also customers of our products and technology.
 
Our principal competitors in the media server market segment are Dialogic/Cantata Technology, NMS Communications, Convedia/Radisys, Movius (IP Unity Glenayre), Cognitronics and Aculab.  In addition, we face competition in software-based and hardware-based media servers from internal development at companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Comverse-NetCentrex, Nortel, Alcatel - Lucent, Nokia – Siemens and Ericsson.
 
Our principal competitors in the sale of signal processing chips are Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Infineon, Centillium, Surf and Mindspeed. Several large manufacturers of generic signal processors, such as Motorola, Agere Systems, which merged with LSI Corporation in April 2007, and Intel have begun, or are expected to begin, marketing competing processors. Our principal competitors in the communications board market are Dialogic/NMS Communications,  Cantata, Aculab, PIKA Technologies, Inc., Intel and Motorola.
 
Our principal competitors in the area of IP Phones are comprised of “best-of-breed” IP phone vendors and end-to-end IP telephony vendors. “Best of breed” IP phone vendors sell standard-based SIP phones that can be integrated into any standards-based IP-PBX or hosted IP telephony system. These competitors include Polycom, Mediatrix and SNOM.  End-to-end IP telephony vendors sell IP phones that only work in their proprietary systems and include IP telephony vendors such as Cisco, Avaya/Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens and Asstra.
 
Many of our competitors have the ability to offer complete network solutions and vendor-sponsored financing programs to prospective customers. Some of our competitors with broad product portfolios may also be able to offer lower prices on products that compete with ours because of their ability to recoup a loss of margin through sales of other products or services. Additionally, voice, audio and other communications alternatives that compete with our products are being continually introduced.
 
In the future, we may also develop and introduce other products with new or additional telecommunications capabilities or services. As a result, we may compete directly with VoIP companies and other telecommunications and solution infrastructure providers, some of which may be our customers. Additional competitors may include companies that currently provide communication software products and services. The ability of some of our competitors to bundle other enhanced services or complete solutions with VoIP products could give these competitors an advantage over us.

 
12

 
 
Offering to sell system level products that compete with the products manufactured by our customers could negatively affect our business.
 
Our product offerings range from media gateway building blocks, such as chips and boards, to media gateways, media servers and session border control products (systems).  These products could compete with products offered by our customers. These customers could decide to decrease purchases from us because of this competition. This could result in a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
Offering to sell directly to carriers or service providers may expose us to requirements for service which we may not be able to meet.
 
We also sell our products directly to telecommunications carriers, service providers or other end-users.  We have traditionally relied on third party distributors and OEMs to test and/or sell our products and to inform us about the requirements of end-users. We have limited experience selling our products directly to end-user customers. Telecommunications carriers and other service providers have great bargaining power in negotiating contracts.  Generally, contracts with end-users tend to be more complex and impose more obligations on us than contracts with third party distributors. We may be unable to meet the requirements of these contracts.  If we are unable to meet the conditions of a contract with an end-user customer, we may be subject to liquidated damages or liabilities that could result in a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
Selling directly to end-users may adversely affect our relationship with our current third party distributors upon whom we will continue to rely for a significant portion of our sales.  Loss of third party distributors and OEMs, or a decreased commitment by them to sell our products as a result of direct sales by us, could adversely affect our sales and results of operations.
 
We rely on third-party subcontractors to assemble our products and therefore do not directly control manufacturing costs, product delivery schedules or manufacturing quality.
 
Our products are assembled and tested by third-party subcontractors. As a result of our reliance on third-party subcontractors, we cannot directly control product delivery schedules. We have in the past experienced delays in delivery schedules. Any problems that occur and persist in connection with the delivery, quality or cost of the assembly and testing of our products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. This reliance could also lead to product shortages or quality assurance problems, which, in turn, could lead to an increase in the costs of manufacturing or assembling our products.
 
In addition, we have recently engaged three original design manufacturers, or ODMs, based in Asia to design and manufacture some of our products. Any problems that occur and persist in connection with the delivery, quality, cost of the assembly or testing of our products, as well as the termination of our commercial relationship with an ODM or the discontinuance of the manufacturing of the respective products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 
13

 
 
We may not be able to deliver our products to our customers, and substantial reengineering costs may be incurred if a small number of third-party suppliers do not provide us with key components on a timely basis.
 
Texas Instruments Incorporated supplies all of the chips for our signal processor product line. Our signal processor line is used both as a product line in its own right and as a key component in our other product lines. Motorola manufactures all of the communications processors currently used on our communications boards.
 
We have not entered into any long-term supply agreements or alternate source agreements with our suppliers and, while we maintain an inventory of critical components, our inventory of chips would likely not be sufficient in the event that we had to engage an alternate supplier for these components.
 
Texas Instruments is also one of our major competitors in providing signal processing solutions. An unexpected termination of the supply of the chips provided by Texas Instruments or Motorola or disruption in their timely delivery would require us to make a large investment in capital and personnel to shift to using signal processors manufactured by other companies and may cause a delay in introducing replacement products. Customers may not accept an alternative product design. Supporting old products or redesigning products may make it more difficult for us to support our products.
 
We utilize other sole source suppliers upon whom we depend without having long-term supply agreements.
 
Some of our sole source suppliers custom produce components for us based upon our specifications and designs while other of our sole source suppliers are the only manufacturers of certain components required by our products. We have not entered into any long-term supply agreements or alternative source agreements with our suppliers and while we maintain an inventory of components from single source providers, our inventory would likely not be sufficient in the event that we had to engage an alternate supplier of these single source components. In the event of any interruption in the supply of components from any of our sole source suppliers, we may have to expend significant time, effort and other resources in order to locate a suitable alternative manufacturer and secure replacement components. If no replacement components are available, we may be forced to redesign certain of our products.  Any such new design may not be accepted by our customers.  A prolonged disruption in supply may force us to redesign and retest our products. Any interruption in supply from any of these sources or an unexpected technical failure or termination of the manufacture of components could disrupt production, thereby adversely affecting our ability to deliver products and to support products previously sold to our customers.
 
In addition, if demand for telecommunications equipment increases, we may face a shortage of components from our suppliers.  This could result in longer lead times, increases in the price of components and a reduction in our margins, all of which could adversely affect the results of our operations.

 
14

 
 
Our customers may require us to produce products or systems to hold in inventory in order to meet their “just in time”, or short lead time, delivery requirements.  If we are unable to sell this inventory on a timely basis, we could incur charges for excess and obsolete inventory which would adversely affect our results of operations.
 
Our customers expect us to maintain an inventory of products available for purchase off the shelf subsequent to the initial sales cycle for these products.  This may require us to incur the costs of manufacturing inventory without having a purchase order for the products.  The VoIP industry is subject to rapid technological change and volatile customer demands, which result in a short product commercial life before a product becomes obsolete.  If we are unable to sell products that are produced to hold in inventory, we may incur write-offs as a result of slow moving items, technological obsolescence, excess inventories, discontinued products and products with market prices lower than cost. Write-offs could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition. We wrote off inventory in a total amount of $973,000 in 2007, $2.4 million in 2008 and $3.4 million in 2009.
 
The right of our customers to return products and their right to exchange products may affect our ability to recognize revenues which could adversely affect the results of our operations.
 
Some of our customers expect us to permit them to return some or all of the products they purchase from us. If we contractually agree to allow a customer to return products, the customer may be entitled to a refund for the returned products or to receive a credit for the purchase of replacement products.  If we agree to this type of contractual obligations, it could affect our ability to recognize revenues. In addition, if we are not able to resell any products that are returned and we would have to write off this inventory.  This could adversely affect our results of operations.
 
Our products generally have long sales cycles and implementation periods, which increase our costs in obtaining orders and reduce the predictability of our revenues.
 
Our products are technologically complex and are typically intended for use in applications that may be critical to the business of our customers. Prospective customers generally must make a significant commitment of resources to test and evaluate our products and to integrate them into larger systems. As a result, our sales process is often subject to delays associated with lengthy approval processes that typically accompany the design and testing of new communications equipment. The sales cycles of our products to new customers are approximately six to twelve months after a design win, depending on the type of customer and complexity of the product. This time period may be further extended because of internal testing, field trials and requests for the addition or customization of features. This delays the time until we realize revenue and results in significant investment of resources in attempting to make sales.
 
Long sales cycles also subject us to risks not usually encountered in a short sales span, including customers’ budgetary constraints, internal acceptance reviews and cancellation. In addition, orders expected in one quarter could shift to another because of the timing of customers’ procurement decisions. The time required to implement our products can vary significantly with the needs of our customers and generally exceeds several months; larger implementations can take multiple calendar quarters. This complicates our planning processes and reduces the predictability of our revenues.

 
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Our proprietary technology is difficult to protect, and our products may infringe on the intellectual property rights of third parties. Our business may suffer if we are unable to protect our intellectual property or if we are sued for infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties.
 
Our success and ability to compete depend in part upon protecting our proprietary technology. We rely on a combination of patent, trade secret, copyright and trademark laws, nondisclosure and other contractual agreements and technical measures to protect our proprietary rights. These agreements and measures may not be sufficient to protect our technology from third-party infringement, or to protect us from the claims of others.
 
Enforcement of intellectual property rights may be expensive and may divert attention of management and of research and development personnel away from our business.  Intellectual property litigation could also call into question the ownership or scope of rights owned by us. We believe that at least one of our patents may cover technology related to the ITU G.723.1 standard. Because of our involvement in the standard setting process, we may be required to license certain of our patents on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis to a current or future competitor, to the extent required to carry out the G.723.1 standard.  Additionally, our products may be manufactured, sold, or used in countries that provide less protection to intellectual property than that provided under U.S. or Israeli laws or where we do not hold relevant intellectual property rights.
 
We believe that the frequency of third party intellectual claims is increasing, as patent holders, including entities that are not in our industry and that purchase patents as an investment or to monetize such rights by obtaining royalties, use infringement assertions as a competitive tactic and a source of additional revenue.  Any intellectual property claims against us, even without merit, could cost us a significant amount of money to defend and divert management’s attention away from our business. We may not be able to secure a license for technology that is used in our products and we may face injunctive proceedings that prevent distribution and sale of our products even prior to any dispute being concluded. These proceedings may also have a deterrent effect on purchases by customers, who may be unsure about our ability to continue to supply their requirements. We may be forced to repurchase our products and compensate customers that have purchased such infringing products. We may be forced to redesign the product so that it becomes non-infringing, which may have an adverse impact on the results of our operations.
 
In addition, claims alleging that the development, use, or sale of our products infringes third parties’ intellectual property rights may be directed either at us or at our direct or indirect customers. We may be required to indemnify such customers against claims made against them. We may be required to indemnify them even if we believe that the claim of infringement is without merit.

 
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Multiple patent holders in our industry may result in increased licensing costs.
 
There are a number of companies besides us that hold patents for various aspects of the technology incorporated in our industry’s standards and our products. We expect that patent enforcement will be given high priority by companies seeking to gain competitive advantages or additional revenues. The holders of patents from which we have not obtained licenses may take the position that we are required to obtain a license from them. We cannot be certain that we would be able to negotiate a license agreement at an acceptable price or at all. Our results of operations could be adversely affected by the payment of any additional licensing costs or if we are prevented from manufacturing or selling a product.
 
Changes in governmental regulations in the United States or other countries could slow the growth of the VoIP telephony market and reduce the demand for our customers’ products, which, in turn, could reduce the demand for our products.
 
VoIP and other services are not currently subject to all of the same regulations that apply to traditional telephony. Nevertheless, it is possible that foreign or U.S. federal or state legislatures may seek to impose increased fees and administrative burdens on VoIP, data, and video providers.  The FCC has already required VoIP service providers to meet various emergency service requirements relating to delivery of 911 calls, known as E911, and to accommodate law enforcement interception or wiretapping requirements, such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. In addition, the FCC may seek to impose other traditional telephony requirements such as disability access requirements, consumer protection requirements, number assignment and portability requirements, and other obligations, including additional obligations regarding E911 and CALEA.
 
The cost of complying with FCC regulations could increase the cost of providing Internet phone service which could result in slower growth and decreased profitability for this industry, which would adversely affect our business.
 
The enactment of any additional regulation or taxation of communications over the Internet in the United States or elsewhere in the world could have a material adverse effect on our customers’ (and their customers’) businesses and could therefore adversely affect sales of our products. We do not know what effect, if any, possible legislation or regulatory actions in the United States or elsewhere in the world may have on private telecommunication networks, the provision of VoIP services and purchases of our products.
 
Use of encryption technology in our products is regulated by governmental authorities and may require special development, export or import licenses.  Delays in the issuance of required licenses, or the inability to secure these licenses, could adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.
 
Growth in the demand for security features may increase the use of encryption technology in our products.  The use of encryption technology is generally regulated by governmental authorities and may require specific development, export or import licenses. Encryption standards may be based on proprietary technologies.  We may be unable to incorporate encryption standards into our products in a manner that will insure interoperability.  We also may be unable to secure licenses for proprietary technology on reasonable terms.  If we cannot meet encryption standards, or secure required licenses for proprietary encryption technology, our revenues and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 
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We are subject to regulations that require us to use components based on environmentally friendly materials. We may be subject to various regulations relating to management and disposal of waste with respect to electronic equipment. Compliance with these regulations may increase our costs. Failure to comply with these regulations could materially adversely affect our results of operations.
 
We are subject to telecommunications industry regulations requiring the use of environmentally-friendly materials in telecommunications equipment.  For example, pursuant to a European Community directive, telecom equipment suppliers were required to stop using specified materials that are not “environmentally friendly” by July 1, 2006. In addition, telecom equipment suppliers that take advantage of an exemption with respect to the use of lead in solders are required by this directive to eliminate the lead in solders from their products by the time set forth by the European Community regulations.  Some of our customers may also require products that meet higher standards than those required by the directive, such as complete removal of additional harmful substances from our products. We will be dependent on our suppliers for components and sub-system modules, such as semiconductors and purchased assemblies and goods, to comply with these requirements.  This may harm our ability to sell our products in regions or to customers that may adopt such directives.
 
Compliance with these directives, especially with respect to the requirement that products eliminate lead solders, requires us to undertake significant expenses with respect to the re-design of our products.  In addition, we may be required to pay higher prices for components that comply with this directive. We may not be able to pass these higher component costs on to our customers. We cannot at this point estimate the expense that will be required to redesign our products in order to include “environmentally friendly” components. We cannot be sure that we will be able to timely comply with these regulations, that we will be able to comply on a cost-effective basis or that a sufficient supply of compliant components will be available to us. Compliance with these regulations could increase our product design costs.  New designs may also require qualification testing with both customers and government certification boards.  We cannot be certain of the reliability of any new designs that utilize non-lead components, in part, due to the lack of experience with the replacement materials and assembly technologies. In addition, the incorporation of new components may adversely affect equipment reliability and durability.
 
Some of our operations use substances regulated under various federal, state, local and international laws governing the environment, including laws governing the management and disposal of waste with respect to electronic equipment. We could incur substantial costs, including fines and civil or criminal sanctions, if we were to violate or become liable under environmental laws or if our products become non-compliant with environmental laws. We also face increasing complexity in our product design and procurement operations as we adjust to new and future requirements relating to the materials that compose our products. The EU has enacted the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which makes producers of electrical goods financially responsible for specified collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of past and future covered products. Similar legislation has been or may be enacted in other jurisdictions, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Japan.

 
18

 
 
Our inability or failure to comply with these regulations could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, manufacturers of components that use lead solders may decide to stop manufacturing those components prior to the required compliance date. These actions by manufacturers of components could result in a shortage of components that could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
 
A significant portion of our revenues is generated outside of the United States and Israel. We intend to continue to expand our operations internationally and, as a result, our results of operations could suffer if we are unable to manage our international operations effectively.
 
We generated 37% of our revenues in 2007, 40% of our revenues in 2008 and 36% of our revenues in 2009 outside of the United States and Israel. Part of our strategy is to expand our penetration in existing foreign markets and to enter new foreign markets. Our ability to penetrate some international markets may be limited due to different technical standards, protocols or product requirements in different markets. Expansion of our international business will require significant management attention and financial resources. Our international sales and operations are subject to numerous risks inherent in international business activities, including:
 
 
·
economic and political instability in foreign countries;
 
·
compliance with foreign laws and regulations;
 
·
different technical standards or product requirements;
 
·
staffing and managing foreign operations;
 
·
foreign currency fluctuations;
 
·
export control issues;
 
·
governmental controls;
 
·
import or currency control restrictions;
 
·
local taxation;
 
·
increased risk of collection; and
 
·
burdens that may be imposed by tariffs and other trade barriers.
 
If we are unable to address these risks, our foreign operations may be unprofitable or the value of our investment in our foreign operations may decrease.
 
Currently, our international sales are denominated primarily in U.S. dollars. Therefore, any devaluation in the local currencies of our customers relative to the U.S. dollar could cause customers to decrease or cancel orders or default on payment.

 
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The prices of our products may become less competitive due to foreign exchange fluctuations.
 
Although we have operations throughout the world, the majority of our revenues and our operating costs in 2009 were denominated in, or linked to, the U.S. dollar. Accordingly, we consider the U.S. dollar to be our functional currency. However, a significant portion of our operating costs in 2009 were incurred in New Israeli Shekels (NIS). During 2009 the NIS appreciated against the U.S. dollar, which resulted in an increase in the U.S. dollar cost of our operations in Israel. As a result of this differential, from time to time we may experience increases in the costs of our operations outside the United States, as expressed in U.S. dollars. If there is a significant increase in our expenses, we may be required to increase the prices of our products and may be less competitive. We cannot be sure that our international customers will continue to place orders denominated in U.S. dollars.
 
Our sales to European customers denominated in Euros are increasing.  Sales denominated in Euros could make our revenues subject to fluctuation in the Euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate. If the U.S. dollar appreciates against the Euro, we may be required to increase the prices of our products that are denominated in Euros.
 
We may be unable to attract sales representatives who will market our products effectively.
 
A significant portion of our marketing and sales involves the aid of independent sales representatives that are not under our direct control. We cannot be certain that our current independent sales representatives will continue to distribute our products or that, even if they continue to distribute our products, they will do so successfully. These representatives are not subject to any minimum purchase requirements and can discontinue marketing our products at any time. In addition, these representatives often market products of our competitors. Accordingly, we must compete for the attention and sales efforts of our independent sales representatives.
 
Our products could contain defects, which would reduce sales of those products or result in claims against us.
 
We develop complex and evolving products. Despite testing by us and our customers, undetected errors or defects may be found in existing or new products. The introduction of products with reliability, quality or compatibility problems could result in reduced revenues, additional costs, increased product returns and difficulty or delays in collecting accounts receivable. The risk is higher with products still in the development stage, where full testing or certification is not yet completed. This could result in, among other things, a delay in recognition or loss of revenues, loss of market share or failure to achieve market acceptance. We could also be subject to material claims by customers that are not covered by our insurance.

 
20

 
 
Obtaining certification of our products by national regulators may be time-consuming and expensive. We may be unable to sell our products in markets in which we are unable to obtain certification.
 
Our customers may expect us to obtain certificates of compliance with safety and technical standards set by national regulators, especially standards set by U.S. or European regulators. There is no uniform set of standards, and each national regulator may impose and change its own standards. National regulators may also prohibit us from importing products that do not conform to their standards. If we make any change in the design of a product, we are usually required to obtain recertification of the product. The process of certification may be time-consuming and expensive and may affect the length of the sales cycle for a product. If we are unable to obtain certification of a product in a market, we may be unable to sell the product in that market.
 
We depend on a limited number of key personnel who would be difficult to replace.
 
Because our products are complex and our market is evolving, the success of our business depends in large part upon the continuing contributions of our management and key personnel. Specifically, we rely heavily on the services of Shabtai Adlersberg, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of our Board of Directors and Interim Chief Financial Officer. If Shabtai Adlersberg is unable or unwilling to continue with us, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.  We do not carry key person insurance for Mr. Adlersberg. We are currently searching for a new chief financial officer to replace our former chief financial officer who left us in April 2010 to pursue another opportunity. Mr. Adlersberg will be acting as our Interim Chief Financial Officer until a replacement is appointed.
 
The success of our business also depends upon our continuing ability to attract and retain other highly-qualified management, technical, sales and marketing personnel. We need highly-qualified technical personnel who are capable of developing technologies and products and providing the technical support required by our customers. We experience competitive pressure with respect to retaining and hiring employees in the high technology sector in Israel. If we fail to hire and retain skilled employees, our business may be adversely affected.
 
If we do not manage our operations effectively, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
 
We have actively expanded our operations in the past and may continue to expand them in the future. This expansion has required, and may continue to require, the application of managerial, operational and financial resources. We cannot be sure that we will continue to expand, or that we will be able to expand our operations successfully. In particular, our business requires us to focus on multiple markets, including the VoIP, wireline, cable and wireless markets. In addition, we work simultaneously with a number of large OEMs and network equipment providers each of which may have different requirements for the products that we sell to them. We may not have sufficient personnel, or may be unable to devote this personnel when needed, to address the requirements of these markets and customers. If we are unable to manage our operations effectively, our revenues may not increase, our cost of operations may rise and our results of operations may be adversely affected.

 
21

 
 
As we grow we may need new or enhanced systems, procedures or controls. The transition to such systems, procedures or controls, as well as any delay in transitioning to new or enhanced systems, procedures or controls, may seriously harm our ability to accurately forecast sales demand, manage our product inventory and record and report financial and management information on a timely and accurate basis.
 
Our gross profit percentage could be negatively impacted by amortization expenses in connection with acquisitions, increased manufacturing costs and other factors.  This could adversely affect our results of operations.
 
Our gross profit percentage decreased in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The decrease in our gross profit percentage was primarily attributable to amortization expenses related to the acquisitions of Nuera and Netrake beginning in the third quarter of 2006 and CTI Squared beginning in the second quarter of 2007, as well as expenses related to equity-based compensation resulting from the adoption of ASC 718 beginning in 2006. During the fourth quarter of 2008, we recognized non-cash impairment charges of $86.1 million with respect to goodwill, intangible assets and investment in an affiliate. As a result of these impairment charges, non-cash amortization expense included in cost of revenues declined in 2009.

Our gross profit percentage has also been negatively affected in the past and could continue to be negatively affected by an increase in manufacturing costs, a shift in our sales mix towards our less profitable products, increased customer demand for longer product warranties and increased cost pressures as a result of increased competition. Acquisitions of new businesses could also negatively affect our gross profit percentage, which could cause an adverse effect on our results of operations.

The growth in our product portfolio means that we have to service and support more products. This may result in an increase in our expenses and an adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
The size of our product portfolio has increased and continues to increase.  As a result, we are required to provide to our customers sales support. Customers have requested that we provide a contractual commitment to support a product for a specified period of time. This period of time may exceed the working life of the product or extend past the period of time that we may intend to manufacture or support a product. We are dependent on our suppliers for the components (hardware and software) needed to provide support and may be unable to secure the components necessary to satisfy our service commitments. We do not have long-term contracts with our suppliers, and they may not be obligated to provide us with products or services for any specified period of time.  We may need to purchase an inventory of replacement components and parts in advance in order to try to provide for their availability when needed.  This could result in increased risk of write-offs with respect to our replacement component inventory to the extent that we cannot accurately predict our future requirements under our customer service contracts.  If any of our component suppliers cease production, cease operations or refuse or fail to make timely delivery of orders, we may not be able to meet our contractual commitments for product support.  We may be required to supply enhanced components or parts as substitutes if the original versions are no longer available. Product support may be costly and any extra service revenues may not cover the hardware and software costs associated with providing long-term support.

 
22

 
 
Terrorist attacks, or the threat of such attacks, may negatively impact the global economy which may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation and may cause our share price to decline.
 
The financial, political, economic and other uncertainties following terrorist attacks throughout the world have led to a worsening of the global economy. As a result, many of our customers and potential customers have become much more cautious in setting their capital expenditure budgets, thereby restricting their telecommunications procurement. Uncertainties related to the threat of terrorism have had a negative effect on global economy, causing businesses to continue slowing spending on telecommunications products and services and further lengthen already long sales cycles.  Any escalation of these threats or similar future events may disrupt our operations or those of our customers, distributors and suppliers, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We are subject to taxation in several countries.
 
Because we operate in several countries, mainly in the United States, Israel, United Kingdom and Singapore, we are subject to taxation in multiple jurisdictions. We are required to report to and are subject to local tax authorities in the countries in which we operate. In addition, our income that is derived from sales to customers in one country might also be subject to taxation in other countries.  We cannot be sure of the amount of tax we may become obligated to pay in the countries in which we operate. The tax authorities in the countries in which we operate may not agree with our tax position. Our tax benefits from carry forward losses and other tax planning benefits such as Israeli approved enterprise programs, may prove to be insufficient due to Israeli tax limitations, or may prove to be insufficient to offset tax liabilities from foreign tax authorities. Foreign tax authorities may also use our gross profit or our revenues in each territory as the basis for determining our income tax, and our operating expenses might not be considered for related tax calculations adversely affect our results of operations.
 
Risks Relating to Operations in Israel
 
Conditions in Israel affect our operations and may limit our ability to produce and sell our products.
 
We are incorporated under the laws of the State of Israel, and our principal executive offices and principal research and development  facilities are located in the State of Israel. Political, economic and military conditions in Israel directly affect our operations. There has been an increase in unrest and terrorist activity in Israel, which has continued with varying levels of severity for many years through the current period of time. This has led to ongoing hostilities between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, other groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the northern border of Lebanon. The future effect of this violence on the Israeli economy and our operations is unclear. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may also lead to political instability between Israel and its neighboring countries. Ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as tension between Israel and the neighboring countries, may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

 
23

 
 
We cannot predict the effect on us of an increase in these hostilities or any future armed conflict, political instability or violence in the region. Additionally, some of our officers and employees in Israel are obligated to perform annual military reserve duty and are subject to being called for additional active duty under emergency circumstances, such as the military confrontation in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008. Some of our employees live within conflict area territories and may be forced to stay at home instead of reporting to work. We cannot predict the full impact of these conditions on us in the future, particularly if emergency circumstances or an escalation in the political situation occur. If many of our employees are called for active duty, or forced to stay at home, our operations in Israel and our business may be adversely affected.  Additionally, a number of countries continue to restrict or ban business with Israel or Israeli companies, which may limit our ability to make sales in those countries.
 
We are adversely affected by the devaluation of the U.S. dollar against the New Israeli Shekel and could be adversely affected by the rate of inflation in Israel.
 
We generate substantially all of our revenues in U.S. dollars and, in 2009, a significant portion of our expenses, primarily salaries, related personnel expenses and the leases of our buildings in Israel, were incurred in NIS.  We anticipate that a significant portion of our expenses will continue to be denominated in NIS.
 
Our NIS related costs, as expressed in U.S. dollars, are influenced by the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the NIS. During 2008 and 2009, the NIS appreciated against the U.S. dollar, which resulted in a significant increase in the U.S. dollar cost of our operations in Israel. To the extent the U.S. dollar weakens against the NIS, we could experience an increase in the cost of our operations, which are measured in U.S. dollars in our financial statements, which could adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, in periods in which the U.S. dollar appreciates against the NIS, we bear the risk that the rate of inflation in Israel will exceed the rate of such devaluation of the NIS in relation to the U.S. dollar or that the timing of such devaluations were to lag considerably behind inflation, which will increase our costs as expressed in U.S. dollars.
 
The devaluation of the U.S. dollar in relation to the NIS has and may continue to have the effect of increasing the cost in U.S. dollars of these expenses. Our U.S. dollar-measured results of operations were adversely affected in 2008 and 2009. This could happen again if the U.S. dollar were to devalue against the NIS.
 
In order to manage the risks imposed by foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, from time to time, we enter into currency forward contracts and put and call options to hedge some of our foreign currency exposure.  We can provide no assurance that our hedging arrangements will be effective.  In addition, if we wish to maintain the U.S. dollar-denominated value of our products in non-U.S. markets, devaluation in the local currencies of our customers relative to the U.S. dollar may cause our customers to cancel or decrease orders or default on payment.

 
24

 
 
Because exchange rates between the NIS and the U.S. dollar fluctuate continuously, exchange rate fluctuations have an impact on our profitability and period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations. In 2009, the value of the U.S. dollar decreased in relation to the NIS by 0.7%, and the inflation rate in Israel was 3.9% and, as a result, adversely affected our results of operations in 2009. If this trend continues, it will continue to adversely affect our result of operations.
 
The Israeli government programs in which we currently participate, and the tax benefits we currently receive require us to meet several conditions and may be terminated or reduced in the future, which would increase our costs.
 
We benefit from certain government programs and tax benefits, particularly as a result of exemptions and reductions resulting from the “approved enterprise” status of our existing production facilities and programs in Israel. In the past, the designation required advance approval from the Investment Center of the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor (the Investment Center). To be eligible for these programs and tax benefits, we must continue to meet conditions relating principally to adherence to the approved programs and to periodic reporting obligations. We believe that we are currently in compliance with these requirements. However, if we fail to meet these conditions, we will be subject to corporate tax at the rate then in effect under Israeli law for such tax year.
 
In April 2005, an amendment to the law came into effect (the “Amendment”) which significantly changed the provisions of the law. The Amendment limited the scope of enterprises which may be approved by the Investment Center by setting criteria for the approval of a facility as a Privileged Enterprise, such as provisions generally requiring that at least 25% of the Privileged Enterprise’s income be derived from export. Additionally, the Amendment enacted major changes in the manner in which tax benefits are awarded under the law so that companies no longer require Investment Center approval in order to qualify for tax benefits.
 
The law provides that terms and benefits included in any certificate of approval granted prior to December 31, 2004 remain subject to the provisions of the law as they were on the date of such approval. Therefore, our existing “Approved Enterprises” are generally not subject to the provisions of the Amendment. As a result of the Amendment, tax-exempt income generated under the provisions of the law as amended, will subject us to taxes upon distribution or liquidation and we may be required to record a deferred tax liability with respect to such tax-exempt income. The Company has elected the year 2008 as the year of election for “Privileged Enterprise” under the Amendment.

 
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The government grants we have received for research and development expenditures limit our ability to manufacture products and transfer technologies outside of Israel and require us to satisfy specified conditions.  If we fail to satisfy these conditions, we may be required to refund grants previously received together with interest and penalties.
 
In connection with research and development grants we received from the OCS, we must pay royalties to the OCS on the revenue derived from the sale of products, technologies and services developed with the grants from the OCS. The terms of the OCS grants and the law pursuant to which grants are made restrict our ability to manufacture products or transfer technologies developed outside of Israel if OCS grants funded the development of the products or technology. An amendment to the relevant law facilitates the transfer of technology or know-how developed with the funding of the OCS to third parties outside of Israel, but any future transfer would still require the approval of the OCS, which may not be granted, and is likely to involve a material payment to the OCS. This restriction may limit our ability to enter into agreements for those products or technologies without OCS approval. We cannot be certain that any approval of the OCS will be obtained on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all.
 
In order to meet specified conditions in connection with the grants and programs of the OCS, we have made representations to the Government of Israel concerning our Israeli operations.    If we fail to meet the conditions related to the grants, including the maintenance of a material presence in Israel, or if there is any material deviation from the representations made by us to the Israeli government, we could be required to refund the grants previously received (together with an adjustment based on the Israeli consumer price index and an interest factor) and would likely be ineligible to receive OCS grants in the future. Any inability to receive these grants would result in an increase in our research and development expenses.
 
In 2009, we recognized a royalty-bearing grant of $2,417,000 from the Government of Israel, through the Office of the Chief Scientist, or the OCS, for the financing of a portion of our research and development expenditures in Israel. The OCS budget has been subject to reductions, which may affect the availability of funds for these prospective grants and other grants in the future. As a result, we cannot be certain that we will continue to receive grants at the same rate, or at all. In addition, the terms of any future OCS grants may be less favorable than our past grant.
 
It may be difficult to enforce a U.S. judgment against us, our officers and directors, assert U.S. securities law claims in Israel or serve process on substantially all of our officers and directors.
 
We are incorporated in Israel. Substantially all of our executive officers and directors are nonresidents of the United States, and a majority of our assets and the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. Therefore, it may be difficult to enforce a judgment obtained in the United States against us or any such persons or to effect service of process upon these persons in the United States. Israeli courts may refuse to hear a claim based on a violation of U.S. securities laws because Israel is not the most appropriate forum to bring such a claim. In addition, even if an Israeli court agrees to hear a claim, it may determine that Israeli law and not U.S. law is applicable to the claim. If U.S. law is found to be applicable, the content of applicable U.S. law must be proved as a fact which can be a time-consuming and costly process. Certain matters of procedure will also be governed by Israeli law. There is little binding case law in Israel addressing these matters. Additionally, there is doubt as to the enforceability of civil liabilities under the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act in original actions instituted in Israel.

 
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Israeli law may delay, prevent or make difficult a merger with or an acquisition of us, which could prevent a change of control and therefore depress the price of our shares.
 
Provisions of Israeli law may delay, prevent or make undesirable a merger or an acquisition of all or a significant portion of our shares or assets. Israeli corporate law regulates acquisitions of shares through tender offers and mergers, requires special approvals for transactions involving significant shareholders and regulates other matters that may be relevant to these types of transactions. These provisions of Israeli law could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control and may make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us, even if doing so would be beneficial to our shareholders. These provisions may limit the price that investors may be willing to pay in the future for our ordinary shares. In addition, our articles of association contain certain provisions that may make it more difficult to acquire us, such as a staggered board, the ability of our board of directors to issue preferred stock and limitations on business combinations with interested shareholders. Furthermore, Israel tax considerations may make potential transactions undesirable to us or to some of our shareholders.
 
Risks Relating to the Ownership of our Ordinary Shares
 
The price of our ordinary shares may fluctuate significantly.
 
The market price for our ordinary shares, as well as the prices of shares of other technology companies, has been volatile. Between January 1, 2008 and June 15, 2010, our share price has fluctuated from a high of $5.26 to a low of $0.92. The following factors may cause significant fluctuations in the market price of our ordinary shares:
 
 
·
fluctuations in our quarterly revenues and earnings or those of our competitors;
 
·
shortfalls in our operating results compared to levels forecast by securities analysts;
 
·
announcements concerning us, our competitors or telephone companies;
 
·
announcements of technological innovations;
 
·
the introduction of new products;
 
·
changes in product price policies involving us or our competitors;
 
·
market conditions in the industry;
 
·
integration of acquired businesses, technologies or joint ventures with our products and operations;
 
·
the conditions of the securities markets, particularly in the technology and Israeli sectors; and
 
·
political, economic and other developments in the State of Israel and worldwide.
 
In addition, stock prices of many technology companies fluctuate significantly for reasons that may be unrelated or disproportionate to operating results. The factors discussed above may depress or cause volatility of our share price, regardless of our actual operating results.

 
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Our quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and we expect these fluctuations to continue. Fluctuations in our results of operations may disappoint investors and result in a decline in our share price.
 
We have experienced and expect to continue to experience significant fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations. In some periods, our operating results may be below public expectations or below revenue levels and operating results reached in prior quarters or in the corresponding quarters of the previous year. If this occurs, the market price of our ordinary shares could decline.
 
The following factors have affected our quarterly results of operations in the past and are likely to affect our quarterly results of operations in the future:
 
 
·
size, timing and pricing of orders, including order deferrals and delayed shipments;
 
·
launching of new product generations;
 
·
length of approval processes or market testing;
 
·
technological changes in the telecommunications industry;
 
·
competitive pricing pressures;
 
·
the timing and approval of government research and development grants;
 
·
accuracy of telecommunication company, distributor and original equipment manufacturer forecasts of their customers’ demands;
 
·
changes in our operating expenses;
 
·
disruption in our sources of supply; and
 
·
general economic conditions.
 
Therefore, the results of any past periods may not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance.
 
Our actual financial results might vary from our publicly disclosed financial forecasts.
 
From time to time, we publicly disclose financial forecasts. Our forecasts reflect numerous assumptions concerning our expected performance, as well as other factors which are beyond our control and which might not turn out to be correct. As a result, variations from our forecasts could be material. Our financial results are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those identified throughout this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report. If our actual financial results are worse than our financial forecasts, the price of our ordinary shares may decline.
 
It is our policy that we will not provide quarterly forecasts of the results of our operations. This policy could affect the willingness of analysts to provide research with respect to our ordinary shares which could affect the trading market for our ordinary shares.
 
It is our policy that we will not provide quarterly forecasts of the results of our operations. This could result in the reduction of research analysts who cover our ordinary shares. Any reduction in research coverage could affect the willingness of investors, particularly institutional investors, to invest in our shares which could affect the trading market for our ordinary shares and the price at which our ordinary shares are traded.

 
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As a foreign private issuer whose shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we follow certain home country corporate governance practices instead of certain Nasdaq requirements.
 
As a foreign private issuer whose shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we are permitted to follow certain home country corporate governance practices instead of certain requirements of the Nasdaq Marketplace Rules.
 
We do not comply with the Nasdaq requirement that we obtain shareholder approval for certain dilutive events, such as for the establishment or amendment of certain equity based compensation plans.  Instead, we follow Israeli law and practice which permits the establishment or amendment of certain equity based compensation plans to be approved by our board of directors without the need for a shareholder vote, unless such arrangements are for the compensation of directors, in which case they also require audit committee and shareholder approval.
 
As a foreign private issuer listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we  may also elect in the future to follow home country practice with regard to, among other things, executive officer compensation, director nomination, composition of the board of directors and quorum at shareholders’ meetings, as well as not obtain shareholder approval for certain dilutive events.
 
Accordingly, our shareholders may not be afforded the same protection as provided under Nasdaq’s corporate governance rules.
 
Our ordinary shares are listed for trading in more than one market and this may result in price variations.
 
Our ordinary shares are listed for trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, or Nasdaq, and on The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange, or TASE. Trading in our ordinary shares on these markets is made in different currencies (U.S. dollars on Nasdaq and New Israeli Shekels on TASE), and at different times (resulting from different time zones, different trading days and different public holidays in the United States and Israel). Actual trading volume on the TASE is generally lower than trading volume on Nasdaq, and as such could be subject to higher volatility. The trading prices of our ordinary shares on these two markets often differ resulting from the factors described above, as well as differences in exchange rates. Any decrease in the trading price of our ordinary shares on one of these markets could cause a decrease in the trading price of our ordinary shares on the other market.
 
We do not anticipate declaring any cash dividends on our ordinary shares.
 
We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our ordinary shares and do not plan to pay any cash dividends in the near future. Our current policy is to retain all funds and earnings for use in the operation and expansion of our business.

 
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U.S. shareholders face certain income tax risks in connection with their acquisition, ownership and disposition of our ordinary shares. In any tax year, we could be deemed a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences for U.S. shareholders.
 
Based on the composition of our gross income, the composition and value of our gross assets and the amounts of our liabilities during 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, we do not believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes during any of such tax years. It is likely, however, that we would be deemed to have been a PFIC in 2001, 2002 and 2003. There can be no assurance that we will not be deemed a PFIC for any future tax year in which, for example, the value of our assets, as measured by the public market valuation of our ordinary shares, declines in relation to the value of our passive assets (generally, cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities). If we are a PFIC for any tax year, U.S. shareholders who own our ordinary shares during such year may be subject to increased U.S. federal income tax liabilities and reporting requirements for such year and succeeding years, even if we are no longer a PFIC in such succeeding years. Under new legislation recently enacted by the U.S., a U.S. holder of our ordinary shares will be required to file an information return containing certain information required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for each year in which we are treated as a PFIC.
 
We urge U.S. holders of our ordinary shares to carefully review Item 10E. – “Taxation – United States Tax Considerations – United States Federal Income Taxes” in this Annual Report and to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the U.S. federal income tax risks related to owning and disposing of our ordinary shares and the consequences of PFIC status.
 
We are subject to ongoing costs and risks associated with complying with extensive corporate governance and disclosure requirements.
 
As a foreign private issuer subject to U.S. federal securities laws, we spend a significant amount of management time and resources to comply with laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, SEC regulations and Nasdaq rules. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires management’s annual review and evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting and attestations of the effectiveness of these controls by our management and by our independent registered public accounting firm.  There is no guarantee that these efforts will result in management assurance or an attestation by our independent registered public accounting firm that our internal control over financial reporting is adequate in future periods. In connection with our compliance with Section 404 and the other applicable provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, our management and other personnel devote a substantial amount of time, and may need to hire additional accounting and financial staff, to assure that we comply with these requirements. The additional management attention and costs relating to compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other corporate governance requirements could materially and adversely affect our financial results.

 
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ITEM 4         INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY
 
A.           HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY
 
AudioCodes Ltd. was incorporated in 1992 under the laws of the State of Israel. Our principal executive offices are located at 1 Hayarden Street, Airport City, Lod, 70151 Israel. Our telephone number is 972-3-976-4000. Our agent in the United States is AudioCodes Inc.,. 27 World’s Fair Drive, Somerset, New Jersey 08873.
 
Major Developments since January 1, 2009
 
Since January 1, 2009, we have increased our focus on sales to the enterprise segment of the market, which includes medium and large sized businesses. As part of this increased focus, we have supplemented and increased our North American sales team who sell to this segment of the market. We have also added products for the residential market segment, which include integrated access device, or IAD, that provides integrated functionality for VoIP, data and access to the Internet.

Through December 31, 2009, we had invested an aggregate of $8.4 million in Natural Speech Communication Ltd. (“NSC”), a privately-held development stage company engaged in speech recognition. This investment was intended to assist that company in achieving substantive technological milestones. As of December 1, 2008, we began consolidating the financial results of NSC into AudioCodes’ financial results. As of December 31, 2009, we owned 59.74% of the outstanding share capital of NSC and 53.74% of the share capital of NSC on a fully diluted basis.
 
In January 2010, we entered into an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding equity of NSC that we did not currently own. The closing of the transaction occurred in May 2010. Pursuant to the agreement, we will pay an aggregate of approximately $1.2 million for the remaining interest in NSC, payable in three annual installments commencing on the first anniversary of the closing. We will also be required to pay an additional purchase price of up to $500,000 in 2013 if certain aggregate revenue milestones are met for 2010, 2011 and 2012
 
In July 2005, we invested $707,000 in MailVision Ltd., a privately-held company engaged in developing and marketing enhanced services platforms for wireless service providers. Through December 31, 2009, we provided loans including accrued interest in the aggregate amount of $642,000 to MailVision. The loans bear interest at the rate of 4%-9% per annum and may be converted into shares of MailVision. As of December 31, 2009, we owned 20.21% of the outstanding share capital of this company.
 
Principal Capital Expenditures
 
We have made and expect to continue to make capital expenditures in connection with expansion of our production capacity. The table below sets forth our principal capital expenditures incurred for the periods indicated (amounts in thousands).

 
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2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
                   
Computers and peripheral equipment
  $ 2,023     $ 2,466     $ 1,195  
                         
Office furniture and equipment
    436       166       76  
                         
Leasehold improvements
    170       526       -  
                         
Total
  $ 2,629     $ 3,158     $ 1,271  
 
B.           BUSINESS OVERVIEW
 
Introduction
 
We design, develop and sell products for voice and data over packet networks. In broad terms, voice over packet, or VoP, networks consist of key network elements such as software switches, application servers, Internet protocol, or IP phones and media gateways. Our products primarily provide the media gateway element in the network, as well as voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, end-points such as IP Phones and VoIP mobile clients. Multi-service business gateways integrate media gateway functionality with data routing and network access. The media gateways connect legacy and IP networks. They essentially receive the legacy format of communication and convert it to an IP communication and vice versa. Typically, media gateways utilize compression algorithms to compress the amount of information and reduce the amount of bandwidth required to convey the information (for example, a voice communication). With the industry migration to an end-to-end IP network, gateways now also connect between different VoIP networks, providing session border controller, or SBC, functionality.
 
Voice over IP gateway equipment can be generally segmented into three classes: carrier class gateways for use in central office facilities, enterprise gateways for use by corporations and in small offices, and residential gateways for use in homes. In addition to the gateway element, which connects legacy voice equipment to an IP network, there is growth in native VoIP end user equipment, primarily including IP phones, soft phones and VoIP mobile clients, running on desktop PCs or portable devices such as PDAs, cellular phones, smart phones, and other devices that have wireless IP connectivity (e.g., WiFi, UMTS and CDMA.).
 
The need to re-route voice and fax traffic from the traditional circuit-switched networks onto the new packet networks has led to the development of interface equipment between the two networks, generally referred to as media gateways. The processing of voice and fax signals in gateway and access equipment is done according to industry-wide standards. These standards are needed to ensure that all traditional telephony traffic is seamlessly switched and routed over the packet network and vice versa. The industry migration into a network that is utilizing IP end-to-end has also added a new functionality into the media gateways that now also translates between different implementations of VoIP. This includes protocol translation as well as security services and is provided by stand-alone SBCs as well as SBC functionality integrated into the gateway.

 
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Packet networks differ fundamentally from circuit-switched networks in that the packet network’s resources and infrastructure can be shared simultaneously by several users and bandwidth can be flexibly allocated. Packet-based communications systems format the information to be transmitted, such as e-mail, voice, fax and data, into a series of smaller digital packages of information called “packets.” Each of these packets is then transmitted over the network and is reassembled as a complete communication at the receiving end. The various packet networks employ different network protocols for different applications, priority schemes and addressing formats to ensure reliable communication.
 
Packet networks offer a number of advantages over circuit-switched networks. Rather than requiring a dedicated circuit for each individual call, packet networks commingle packets of voice, fax and data from several communications sources on a single physical link. This provides superior utilization of network resources, especially in dealing with information sources with bursts of information followed by periods of silence. This superior utilization means that more traffic can be carried over the same amount of network resources.
 
The integration of voice and data communications makes possible an enrichment of services and an entire range of new, value-added applications, such as unified messaging and voice-enabled web sites. In addition, voice traffic over packet networks is usually compressed to provide a further reduction in the use of or demand for bandwidth. Another recent trend in the VoIP environment, referred to as High Definition VoIP, or HD VoIP, now enables the improvement of voice quality. The adoption of both VoIP technology and broadband networks has enabled the development and deployment of high-quality voice coding algorithms that make communication more efficient, effective and natural. HD VoIP allows carriers to differentiate their services with an improved audio experience, with the goal of creating customer loyalty and affinity. It also enables enterprises to provide better, clearer voice services for their employees, which we believe makes them more productive and makes it easier to work across different cultures and accents.
 
As customers integrate more services into their IP network, they tend to use integrated products that provide all the services they need in one box. Multi service business gateways, or MSBGs, combine all the capabilities of media gateways with the support of native data routing and switching. The MSBGs enables enterprise customers to connect their branch office networks into the corporate headquarters, and service providers to connect their customers into their network core. Some MSBGs also include integrated hosts, which can run off-the-shelf unified communications applications. This combination enables system integrators to provide a fully integrated solution for small/medium businesses, or SMB/E, and enterprise branches, including the voice and data infrastructure and the application in one device.
 
Moving into the VoIP world, enterprise and service provider have started to use a new breed of phone devices that inherently produce packets instead of legacy voice, called IP phones. The IP phone is an advanced telephone that connect into the network using VoIP over Ethernet instead of using analog TDM interfaces. Most enterprise telephony systems sold today are using IP phones, as well as service providers managed services such as IP Centrex.
 
In addition to wireline IP telephony, mobile networks have started to use VoIP as well. Mobile VoIP clients, running on smart-phones, enable cost effective mobile roaming and allow Internet telephony service providers to enter the mobile space. These include mobile VoIP clients for leading smartphones operating systems, such as iPhone OS, Symbian, Windows mobile and Android.

 
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We typically categorize our products into two main business lines: network and technology. Sales of network products accounted for approximately 67% of our revenues in 2008 and approximately 72% of our revenues in 2009 and sales of technology products accounted for approximately 33% of our revenues in 2008 and approximately 28% of our revenues in 2009.
 
Network products consist of customer premises equipment, or CPE, gateways for the enterprise and service provider (or carrier) markets and of carrier-grade-oriented low- and mid-density media gateways for service providers. Complementing our media gateways as network products are our multi-service business gateways, IP phones, media server, and value added application products.
 
Technology products are enabling in nature and consist of our chips and boards business products. These are sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, through distribution channels. Our chips and boards serve as building blocks that our customers incorporate in their products. In contrast, our networking products are used by our customers as part of a broader technological solution and are a box level product that interacts directly with other third party products.
 
Our Products
 
We offer two categories of products, networking products and technology products.
 
Networking Products
 
Networking products are deployed in enterprise unified communications networks, service providers residential and access networks, trunking applications in carrier networks, and fixed-mobile convergence applications.
 
 
·
Our media gateways enable voice, data and fax to be transmitted over Internet and other protocols, and interface with third party equipment to facilitate enhanced voice and data services.
 
 
·
Our multi-service business gateways integrate multiple data, telephony and security services into a single device. Building on our media gateway CPE line, we have added the support of new functions such as a LAN switch, a data router, a firewall and a session border controller, providing service providers with an integrated demarcation point and the enterprise with an all-in-one solution for its communications needs. Our IP phones include a family of high definition IP phones, suitable for integration with third party IP-PBX platforms for the enterprise IP telephony market, as well as into IP-Centrex service provider solutions.
 
 
·
Our mobile VoIP clients include a family of soft clients for leading smartphones operating systems and a client management system, providing mobile roaming solutions for mobile and voice over IP and voice over broadband service providers.
 
 
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·
Media servers enable conferencing, multi-language announcement functionality, and other applications for voice over packet networks.
 
 
·
Unified communication applications offer solutions that enable the integration of voice, data, fax and messaging.
 
Technology Products
 
Our technology products are enabling products that are part of our own or our customers’ products.
 
 
·
Our signal processor chips process and compress voice, data and fax and enable connectivity between traditional telephone networks and packet networks.
 
 
·
Our communication boards and modules for communication system products are integrated into third-party communications systems and deployed on both access networks and enterprise networks.
 
Industry Background
 
Market Trends
 
The networking and telecommunications industries have experienced rapid change over the last few years. The primary factors driving this change include the following:
 
 
·
New technologies.  The increase of speed and the proliferation of broadband access technologies alongside related technologies, such as new high definition voice compression algorithms, quality of service mechanisms and security and encryption algorithms and protocols, have enabled delivery of voice over packet to residential and enterprise customers with more reliability, higher quality and greater security. Examples of these broadband access technologies include: third generation cellular, WiMax, WiFi, data over cable, digital subscriber line technologies and fiber networks (FTTx). Packet technologies enable delivery of real time and non-real time services by different service providers that do not necessarily own the access network or the part of the network through which the subscriber accesses the network. This allows for the growth of alternative or virtual service providers that do not own an access network.
 
 
·
Competition by alternative service providers with incumbent and traditional service providers. Competition by alternative service providers is causing incumbents to deploy advanced broadband access technologies and increase their competitiveness by offering bundled services to their subscribers, such as voice, video and data, and online gaming. In addition, the emergence of wide band vocoders that use a higher sampling rate than used in legacy time domain multiplexing, or TDM, networks allows service providers to offer higher quality voice and music over their newly established IP network.
 
 
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·
New services enabled by broadband access. Changes in the regulatory environment affecting service providers and the availability of new technologies or standards allow service providers to compete with one another in the provision of additional services over and above the traditional telephony service of voice, fax and dial-up modem internet connectivity. New services that could be offered include internet connectivity over broadband access or access to rich multimedia content such as music, video and games.
 
 
·
Increasing need for peering between VoIP networks.  Service providers and enterprises are increasingly building out VoIP networks.  As a result, there is an increasing need to connect between two VoIP networks.  In order to interconnect between two VoIP networks, service providers and enterprises need session border controllers to provide connectivity and security.
 
 
·
Increased use of open source codes for enterprise telephony. Similar to the trend experienced with respect to Linux in the IT world, open source has started to gain momentum in the VoIP space as well. Open source based IP telephony solutions, led by Asterisk, a well known IP-PBX implementation, is starting to penetrate the enterprise space as a low cost alternative to the proprietary IP-PBX solutions from the large vendors. The adoption of open source IP telephony solutions is gaining momentum mainly in the SMB/SME space, as well as with service providers and developers that add their own code on top of the open source basic code to enable special services and features.
 
 
·
Unified Communications in the Enterprise. With the move to VoIP and the network integration between voice and data based on Ethernet and IP, enterprises can easily move into a unified communications network. Unified communications networks integrate all means of communications into a single experience, providing on line (voice, data, instant messaging) and off line (voice mail, email and fax) integration into the same device. The devices can be PCs, desktop phones or mobile smartphones and PDAs.
 
 
·
Mobility. Mobile smartphones have become popular among business professionals as well as the general public. Smartphones, running advanced operating systems such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, Android and iPhone OS, include high CPU power, large storage space, integrated WiFi and 3G data, as well as the ability to run high performance multimedia applications. Mobile VoIP is one of these applications, allowing cost-effective roaming for a service provider’s customers and enterprise mobility services.
 
The Challenges
 
Despite the inherent advantages and the economic attractiveness of packet voice networking, the transmission of packet voice and fax poses a variety of technological challenges. These challenges relate to quality of service, reliability of equipment, functionality and features, and ability to provide a good return on investment.

 
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·
Quality of Service. The most critical issues leading to poor quality of service in the transmission of voice and fax over packet networks are packet loss, packet delay and packet delay jitter. For real time signals like voice, the slightest delay in the arrival of a packet may render that packet unusable and, in a voice transmission, the delayed packet is considered a lost packet. Delay is usually caused by traffic hitting congestion or a bottleneck in the network. The ability to address delay is compounded by the varying arrival times of packets, called packet-jitter, which results from the different routes taken by different packets. This “jitter” can be eliminated by holding the faster arriving packets until the slower arriving packets can catch up, but this introduces further delay. These idiosyncrasies of packet networks do not noticeably detract from the quality of data transmission since data delivery is relatively insensitive to time delay. However, even the slightest delay or packet loss in voice and fax transmission can have severe ramifications such as voice quality degradation or, in the case of a fax transmission, call interruption. Therefore, the need to compensate for lost or delayed packets without degradation of voice and fax quality is a critical issue.
 
 
·
Gateway Reliability. In order for a packet network to be efficient for voice or fax transmission, the VoIP gateway equipment that is installed in core networks must be able to deliver a higher level of performance than existing switching equipment located at central offices. The telecommunications providers’ central offices contain circuit-switching equipment that typically handles tens of thousands of lines and is built to meet severe performance criteria relating to reliability, capacity, size, power consumption and cost.
 
 
·
Connectivity and Security. In contrast with legacy circuit switched voice and video communications, IP-based communications are more susceptible to attacks, interceptions and fraud by unauthorized entities. In addition, the complexity and relative immaturity of IP networks and protocols pose significant quality of service and connectivity challenges when sessions cross between separate IP networks.
 
 
·
Functionality. In order to effectively replace legacy circuit-switching equipment, packet network equipment must be able to deliver equivalent and improved functionality and features for the service providers and network users.
 
 
·
Return on Investment. With the reduction in profitability of service providers there is an even greater need for them to achieve better returns on investment from capital expenditures on new equipment. Given the evolving nature of packet technologies and capabilities, there is greater pressure to provide cost-effective technological solutions.
 
In order to maximize the benefits of using packet networks for the transmission of voice, data and fax, products must be able to address and solve these inherent problems and challenges. These products must also be standards-based to support interoperability among different equipment manufacturers and to allow operation over various networks.

 
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AudioCodes’ Solution
 
Using our voice compression algorithms, industry standards, advanced digital signal processing techniques, VoIP control protocol expertise, and voice communications system design expertise, our products address quality of service problems, security problems and reliability problems facing the VoIP industry. As a result, we enable our customers to build packet networks that provide communication quality comparable to traditional telephone networks. Using HDVoIP, voice quality can even surpass the quality of traditional TDM networks. We work closely with our customers in order to tailor our products to meet their specific needs, assist them in integrating our products within their networks and help them bring their systems into operation on a timely basis. We also work with our customers in deploying their systems in various network environments.
 
Utilizing our investment in developing standards-based VoIP protocol support for our products, customers can integrate our products with a large number of industry leading IP-PBXs and carrier soft switches. Our interoperability teams test our products against a variety of other products for interoperability, focusing on the leading standard VoIP protocols: Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP, and MEGACO/H.248.
 
We believe that the following strengths have enabled us to develop our products and provide services to our customers:
 
 
·
Leadership in voice compression technology.  We are a leader in voice compression technology. Voice compression exploits redundancies within a voice signal to reduce the bit rate of data required to digitally represent the voice signal while still maintaining acceptable voice quality. Our key development personnel have significant experience in developing voice compression technology. We were involved in the development of the ITU G.723.1 voice coding standard that was adopted by the VoIP Forum and the International Telecommunications Union as the recommended standard for use in voice over IP gateways. We implement industry voice compression standards and work directly with our customers to design state-of-the-art proprietary voice compression algorithms that satisfy specific network requirements. We believe that our significant knowledge of the basic technology permits us to optimize its key elements and positions us to address further technological advances in the industry. We also believe that our technological expertise has resulted in us being sought out by leading equipment manufacturers to work with them in designing their systems and provision of solutions to their customers.
 
 
·
Digital signal processing design expertise.  Our extensive experience and expertise in designing advanced digital signal processing algorithms enables us to implement them efficiently in real time systems. Digital signal algorithms are computerized methods used to extract information out of signals. In designing our signal processors, we use minimal digital signal processing memory and processing power resources. This allows us to develop higher density solutions than our competitors. Our expertise is comprehensive and extends to all of the functions required to perform voice compression, fax and modem transmission over packet networks and telephone signaling processing.
 
 
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·
Compressed voice communications systems design expertise.  We have the expertise to design and develop the various building blocks and the products required for complete voice over packet systems. In building these systems, we develop hardware architectures, voice packetization software and signaling software, and integrate them with our signal processors to develop a complete, high performance compressed voice communications system. We assist our customers in integrating our signal processors into their hardware and software systems to ensure high voice quality, high completion rate of fax and data transmissions and telephone signaling processing accuracy. Further, we are able to customize our off-the-shelf products to meet our customers’ specific needs, thereby providing them with a complete, integrated solution.
 
 
·
Real time embedded software design and implementation expertise.  We have the expertise to design and develop voice and data network elements using embedded real time software to achieve more competitive pricing. The development and integration of VoIP signaling protocols, routing protocols, management and provisioning into a more cost-effective solution uses our expertise and investment in research and development resources. We believe that the benefits we can deliver are better price performance, smaller footprint, reduced power consumption and more attractive products.
 
 
·
Media gateway protocols design expertise. Our extensive experience in developing media gateway standard protocols, keeping ourselves up to date with new request for comments, or RFCs, and adjusting our features according to customers requirements and interoperability testing allows us to provide our customers with a single gateway that can interface with most of the leading solution providers in the VoIP market.
 
 
·
Close technology relationships with market leaders. Our continuing effort of testing and certifying our systems against other vendors’ complimentary solutions, positions us as a provider of VoIP products that can interoperate with most of the world’s leading VoIP products. It also helps to create for us an extensive feature list that can be used by different customers for their own networks and solutions.
 
We believe that our products possess the following advantages:
 
 
·
Voice over Packet signal processors. Our multi-channel signal processors enable our customers and us to create products that meet the reliability, capacity, size, power consumption and cost requirements needed for building high capacity VoIP products.
 
 
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·
Multiple and comprehensive product lines. We address both the standards-based open telecommunications architecture market and the proprietary system market. We can do this because we enable our customers to use multiple applications in different market segments. For example, our VoIP communications boards target the open telecommunications architecture market, while our signal processors, modules and voice packetization software target the proprietary system market. Our analog and digital media gateways and multi-service business gateways target residential, hosted, access, trunking and enterprise applications and our digital media gateways target wireless, wire line, cable and fixed-mobile convergence networks. Our IP phones and VoIP mobile clients target the enterprise and service provider hosted solutions markets.
 
 
·
Extensive feature set. Our products incorporate an extensive set of signal processing functions and features (such as coders, fax processing and echo cancellation), functionalities (such as session initiation protocol, or SIP, H.248 or Megaco,  H.323, and media gateway control protocol, or MGCP) and implement a complete system. We offer the ability to manage multiple channels of communications working independently of each other, with each channel capable of performing all of the functions required for voice compression, fax and modem transmission, telephone signaling processing and other functions. These functions include voice, fax or data detection, echo cancellation, telephone tone signal detection, generation and other telephony signaling processing. Our gateway products, media server and multi-service business gateways also offer wireless/mobile features to enable fixed mobile convergence.
 
 
·
Cost-effective solutions. We are able to address different market segments and applications with the same hardware platforms thus providing our customers with efficient and cost-effective solutions.
 
 
·
Open architecture. Our networking products utilize industry standard control protocols that enable them to interoperate with  other vendors and easily integrate into enterprise IP telephony systems as well as carrier networks. Our voice over packet communications boards target the open architecture gateway market segment, which enables our customers to use hardware and software products widely available for standards-based open telecommunications platforms. We believe that this provides our customers the benefits of scalability, upgradeability and enhanced functionality without the need to replace their systems for evolving applications.
 
 
·
Various entry level products. Our wide product range (chips to media gateways, multi-service business gateway, IP phones and media servers) provides our customers with a range of entry level products. We believe that these building blocks enable our customers to significantly shorten their time to market by adding their value added solution.
 
 
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·
VoIPerfect™ architecture. Our VoIPerfect architecture serves as the underlying technology platform common to all of our products since 1998. VoIPerfectTM is regularly updated and upgraded with features and functionalities required to comply with evolving standards and protocols. VoIPerfectTM architecture comprises VoIP digital signal processing, or DSP, software and media streaming embedded software, integrated public telephone switched network, or PTSN, signaling protocols and VoIP standard control protocols, provisioning and management engines. Additional features enable carrier-grade quality and high availability. VoIPerfectTM architecture components are available in AudioCodes’ products at various levels of integration, from the chip level, through blades, to high-availability and non-high-availability analog and digital gateway platforms.
 
Business Strategy
 
AudioCodes' vision is to become a leading strategic supplier of VoIP and converged VoIP and data solutions for service providers and enterprises worldwide. The following are key elements of our strategy:
 
 
·
Maintain and extend technological leadership.  We intend to capitalize on our expertise in voice compression technology and voice signaling protocols and proficiency in designing voice communications systems. We continually upgrade our product lines with additional functionalities, interfaces and densities. We have invested heavily and are committed to continued investment in developing technologies that are key to providing high performance voice, data and fax transmission over packet networks and to be at the forefront of technological evolution in our industry.
 
 
·
Strengthen and expand strategic relationships with key partners and customers.  We sell our products to leading enterprise channels, regional system integrators, global equipment manufacturers and value-added resellers, or VARs, in the telecommunications and networking industries and establish and maintain long-term working relationships with them. We work closely with our customers to engineer products and subsystems that meet each customer’s particular needs. The long development cycles usually required to build equipment incorporating our products frequently results in close working relationships with our customers. By focusing on leading equipment manufacturers with large volume potential, we believe that we reach a substantial segment of our potential customer base while minimizing the cost and complexity of our marketing efforts.
 
 
·
Expand and enhance the development of highly-integrated products. We plan to continue designing, developing and introducing new product lines and product features that address the increasingly sophisticated needs of our customers. We believe that our knowledge of core technologies and system design expertise enable us to offer better solutions that are more complete and contain more features than competitive alternatives. We believe that the best opportunities for our growth and profitability will come from offering a broad range of highly-integrated network product lines and product features, the integration of data services into our VoIP products, and the expansion into the unified communications applications market.
 
 
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·
Build upon existing technologies to penetrate new markets. The technology we developed originally for the OEM market has served us in building products that now sell into the service provider and enterprise markets. The same products and technology can also be used to create vertical-specific products and solutions. Two vertical markets that we focus on are the military and government markets which have been adopting service-provider scale VoIP solutions.
 
 
·
Develop a network of strategic partners. We sell our products through or in cooperation with customers that can offer or certify our products as part of a full-service solution to their customers. We expect to further develop our strategic partner relationships with solution providers, system integrators and other service providers in order to increase our customer base.
 
 
·
Acquire complementary businesses and technologies.  We may pursue the acquisition of complementary businesses and technologies or the establishment of joint ventures to broaden our product offerings, enhance the features and functionality of our systems, increase our penetration in targeted markets and expand our marketing and distribution capabilities. As part of this strategy, we acquired the UAS business from Nortel in April 2003 and Ai-Logix (now part of AudioCodes Inc.), in May 2004. We also acquired Nuera (now part of AudioCodes Inc.) in July 2006, Netrake (now part of AudioCodes Inc.) in August 2006, CTI Squared in April 2007 and Natural Speech Communication in 2010.
 
Products
 
Our products facilitate the transmission of voice, data and fax over packet networks. we have incorporated our algorithms, technologies and systems design expertise in both our networking and technology product lines.
 
Networking products
 
This line of products includes products that are network level products. Our networking products include:
 
 
·
analog media gateways for toll bypass, residential gateways, hosted, access and enterprise applications;
 
·
digital media gateways with various capacities for wireless, wireline, cable, enterprise, fixed mobile convergence, and unified communications;
 
·
multi-service business gateways for integrated voice, data and security access for service providers connecting enterprise customers to their network and for the enterprise branch office;
 
·
IP phones for enterprise and managed services service providers;
 
·
mobile VoIP access solutions;
 
·
media servers for enhanced voice and video services and functionalities such as conferencing, video sharing and messaging (IPmedia™ Media Servers); and
 
·
value-added applications for unified communications.
 
 
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In addition, we continue to offer customers our professional services, which usually involve customization and development projects for customers.
 
Technology products
 
This line of products serves as a building block for network level products. Our technology products include:
 
 
·
voice over packet processors;
 
·
VoIP communication boards;
 
·
media processing boards for enhanced services and functionalities; and
 
·
voice and data logging hardware integration board products.
 
Our products are designed to build on our core technologies and competencies extending them both vertically (chips inserted into boards, boards inserted into digital media gateways) and horizontally into different applications for different market segments, such as enterprise, call centers, wireline, cable and wireless.
 
Our Product Families – Networking Products
 
Analog Media Gateways for Toll Bypass, Service Provider Access and Enterprise Applications
 
MediaPackTM, our analog and basic rate interface, or BRI, media gateways for toll bypass, service provider access and enterprise applications, are designed to empower the next-generation network by providing cost-effective, cutting-edge technology solutions that deliver voice and fax services to the corporate market, small businesses and home offices. Our analog media gateways for access and enterprise applications provide media streaming functionality while being either controlled by a centralized call agent or used in box VoIP control protocols (SIP, H.323, and MGCP). Convergence of data, voice and fax is achieved by a combination of the media gateway with any IP access technology, eliminating the cost of multiple access circuits. This product family utilizes our experience and digital signal processing, or DSP, technology for echo cancellation, voice compression, silence suppression and comfort noise generation. Part of this line is composed of our analog residential gateways whose primary target market is the large volume residential service providers, or SP, market.
 
The MediaPackTM family represents a feature rich product for streaming voice quality with a powerful analog interface supporting all major control protocols, such as H323, SIP and MGCP, and is also capable of supporting unified communication and FMC applications.
 
The Mediant™ Family of Products-Digital and Mixed Media Access Media Gateways and Multi-Service Business Gateways for Service Provider Access and Enterprise Applications (MediantTM 600, 1000, 2000 and Mediant 1000TM MSBG) and Digital Media Gateways and Various Capacities for Wireless, Wireline and Cable (Mediant™ 3000, 5000, 8000)

 
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MediantTM is our family of access gateways. We have Mediant™ products for service provider access enterprise networks. We also provide converged media gateways for wireline, cable, wireless (GSM and CDMA), fixed-mobile-convergence and large enterprise networks. The MediantTM product family offers scalability and functionality, providing a full suite of standards compliant control protocols and public switched telephone network, or PSTN, signaling interfaces for a variety of applications in most IP-PBX and softswitch controlled environments, as well as for a variety of large enterprise, wireline, cable and wireless media gateway applications in most softswitch controlled environments. This product family is compatible with popular wireline, cable and wireless voice coders and protocols, including code-division multiple access, or CDMA, global system for mobile communications, or GSM, CDMA2000 and universal mobile telecommunications service, or UMTS. It builds on our TrunkPack® architecture, which is installed in millions of lines worldwide. It is also interoperable with most of the world’s leading vendors.
 
The MediantTM family provides carriers with a comprehensive line of different sized gateways. Small or medium-sized gateways enable cost-effective solutions for enterprise or small points of presence, as well as entry into fast growing new and emerging markets. The large gateways scale to central office capacities and are designed to meet carriers’ operational requirements. The Mediant™ family of media gateways is capable of supporting unified communication and fixed mobile convergence applications which may be of increased interest to enterprises and service providers. The Mediant™ gateway family shares our VoIP perfect architecture, designed to provide mature, field-proven solutions.
 
The Mediant™ family of products consists of a number of models that offer different capacity, that is the number of concurrent calls that the gateway can handle. The capacity of our Mediant products range from approximately 30 concurrent calls to 8,000 concurrent calls for the wireless and wireline markets.
 
Our Mediant™ 1000 has two different models. One model is a modular media gateway. The other model includes multi-service business gateways, or MSBGs, which are networking devices that combine multiple multiservice functions such as a media gateway, session border controller, data router and firewall, LAN switch, WAN access, and  stand alone survivability, or SAS. The MSBG concept is designed to address the needs of service providers and cable operators that offer IP-Centrex and SIP trunking services and of distributed enterprises.
 
We offer the Mediant 1000 MSBG, which is an all-in-one multi-service access solution designed to provide converged voice and data services for business customers at wire speed, while maintaining service level agreement, or SLA, parameters for superior voice quality. The Mediant 1000 MSBG is based on AudioCodes’ VoIPerfect best-of-breed media gateway technology, combined with enterprise class session border controller, data and voice security elements, data routing, LAN switching and WAN access.

The session border controller, or SBC, technology integrated into the Mediant 1000 MSBG, offers secure VoIP and multimedia traversal of firewall, or FW, and network address translation, or NAT, systems, as well as denial of service, or DoS, attack prevention at both the signaling and media layers. NAT and FW traversal are necessary to allow VoIP and multimedia session to pass from the Service Provider (“SP”) network to the residential or enterprise networks. DoS attack prevention protects the SP network from attacks that load the network until it crashes. It also provides comprehensive Quality of Service, or QoS, mechanisms and protocol mediation (translation between two variants of same VoIP protocol to enable two VoIP systems to communicate with each other).

 
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The Mediant 1000 MSBG can also include a general purpose CPU and hard disk, allowing to host any third-party off-the-shelf application. Positioned as MSBG PLUS, this solution enables system integrators and software vendors to use the MSBG platform for integrated unified communications solutions.
 
For the cable market, the MediantTM gateway family complies with packet telephony standards and is designed for either hybrid or all IP cable network architecture. The Mediant gateway enables deployment of advanced packet-based cable telephony at multiple service operators own pace, without costly hardware changes. The MediantTM gateway can be initially deployed as a V5.2 IP access terminal and then easily migrated by software upgrade to a cable telephony media gateway with external call management provided by a softswitch and an SS7 interface to the PSTN.
 
IPmediaTM Servers for Enhanced Services and Functionalities
 
IPmediaTM platforms are designed to answer the growing market demand for enhanced voice services over packet networks, particularly network-based applications like unified communications, call recording, and conferencing by carriers and application service providers. IPmediaTM enables our customers to develop and market applications such as unified communications, interactive voice response, call-centers, conferencing and voice-activated personal assistants.
 
350HD Series of High Definition IP Phones
 
AudioCodes 300 Series of HD VoIP-enabled IP phones offers a new dimension of voice call quality and clarity for the Enterprise and Service Provider markets. This product line enables us to provide an end-to-end solution which relies heavily on the technological infrastructure and proven track record in providing state-of-the art high quality VoIP products for Enterprise, Wireline, Wireless and Cable applications.
 
The 300 Series of IP phones meet the demand for High Definition VoIP solutions in end-user phones and terminals, providing high voice fidelity, advanced security and features and enhanced user interface. The 300 Series of IP phones is widely interoperable with numerous IP-PBXs, softswitches and IP-Centrex solutions.
 
VoIP Mobile Access Solution (VMAS)
 
The VMAS™ is a mobile VoIP solution from AudioCodes comprised of a Client Management System (CMS) and a variety of Mobile Soft Clients for leading Mobile Operating Systems and Smartphones. VMAS is currently available for leading smartphones such as iPhone™/iPod touch®, Nokia®, Samsung®™, HTC™ and others.

 
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CTI2 Value Added Services Applications (InTouch)
 
The InTouch platform is an enhanced value added services, or VAS, platform for service providers, such as cable, class 5, class 4, fixed-line, mobile, multiservice virtual network operator, or MVNO, and operators. InTouch provides a suite of next generation VAS. InTouch is an IP-based, email-centric and telco-grade platform conforming to ultimate service providers’ requirements for high-availability, reliability, scalability, and security. InTouch is designed to smoothly scale from a very small system to a system with millions of subscribers based on the same software and architecture, while enabling a rich suite of applications at all sizes. InTouch’s open architecture is based on industry-standard protocols, facilitating interoperability and integration with best of breed, third-party applications. InTouch acts as a mediator between InTouch services and a large selection of clients and devices enabling service providers to offer attractive packages.
 
Element Management System
 
Our element management system, or EMS, is an advanced solution for centralized, standards-based management of our VoP gateways, covering all areas vital to the efficient operations, administration, management and provisioning of our MediantTM and MediaPackTM VoP gateways.
 
Our EMS offers network equipment providers and system integrators fast setup of medium and large VoP networks with the advantage of a single centralized management system that configures, provisions and monitors all of AudioCodes gateways deployed, either as customer premises equipment, access or core network platforms.
 
Our Product Families – Technology Products
 
Voice Over Packet Processors
 
Our signal processor chips compress and decompress voice, data and fax communications. This enables these communications to be sent from circuit-switched telephone networks to packet networks. Our chips are digital signal processors on which we have embedded our algorithms. These signal processor chips are the basic building blocks used by our customers and us to enable their products to transmit voice, fax and data over packet networks. These chips may be incorporated into our communications boards, media gateway modules and analog media gateways for access and enterprise applications or they may be purchased separately and incorporated into other boards or customer products.
 
TrunkPackTM VoIP Communication Boards
 
Our communications boards are designed to operate in gateways connecting the circuit-switched telephone network to packet networks based on Internet protocols. Our boards comply with VoIP industry standards and allow for interoperability with other gateways. Our boards support standards-based open telecommunications architecture systems and combine our signal processor chips with communications software, signaling software and proprietary hardware architecture to provide a cost efficient interoperable solution for high capacity gateways. We believe that using open architecture permits our customers to bring their systems to market quickly and to integrate our products more easily within their systems.

 
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IPmediaTM Boards for Enhanced Services and Functionalities
 
The IPmediaTM product family is designed to allow OEMs and application partners to provide sophisticated content and services that create revenue streams and customer loyalty through the ability to provide additional services. The IPmediaTM boards provides voice and fax processing capabilities to enable, together with our partners, an architecture for development and deployment of enhanced services.
 
Voice and Data Logging Hardware Integration Board Products
 
The SmartWORKSTM family of products is our voice and data logging hardware integration board product line. SmartWORKSTM boards for the call recording and voice voice/data logging industry are compatible with a multitude of private branch exchange, or PBX, telephone system integrations.
 
Core Technologies
 
We believe that one of our key competitive advantages is our broad base of core technologies ranging from advanced voice compression algorithms to complex architecture system design. We have developed and continue to build on a number of key technology areas. We have named our cross platform core technology VoIPerfect™. It essentially allows us to leverage the same feature set and interoperability with other products across our product lines.
 
Narrowband and Wideband (HDVoIP) Voice Compression Algorithms
 
Voice compression techniques are essential for the transmission of voice over packet networks. Voice compression exploits redundancies within a voice signal to reduce the bit rate required to digitally represent the voice signal, from 64 kilobits per second, or kbps, down to low bit rates ranging from 5.3 kbps to 8 kbps, while still maintaining acceptable voice quality. A bit is a unit of data. Different voice compression algorithms, or coders, make certain tradeoffs between voice quality, bit rate, delay and complexity to satisfy various network requirements. Use of voice activity detection techniques and silence removal techniques further reduce the transmission rate by detecting the silence periods embedded in the voice flow and discarding the information packets which do not contribute to voice intelligibility.
 
We are one of the innovators in developing low bit rate voice compression technologies. Our patented MP-MLQTM coder was adopted in 1995 by the ITU as the basis for the G.723.1 voice coding standard for audio/visual applications over circuit-switched telephone networks. By adhering to this standard, system manufacturers guarantee the interoperability of their equipment with the equipment of other vendors.
 
We also provide wideband compression techniques that provide high definition VoIP quality, which expands the sampled frequency range from the traditional narrowband frequency range of 3.3Khz to over 7Khz, providing better voice quality and intelligibility, and a better user expertise. This technology is expanding and is expected to become a de-facto standard for future VoIP communications.

 
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Advanced Digital Signal Processing Algorithms
 
To provide a complete voice over packet communications solution, we have developed a library of digital signal processing functions designed to complement voice compression coders with additional functionality, including: echo cancellation; voice activity detection; facsimile and data modem processing; and telephony signaling processing. Our extensive experience and expertise in designing advanced digital signal processing solutions allows us to implement algorithms using minimal processing memory and power resources.
 
Our algorithms include:
 
Echo cancellation. Low bit rate voice compression techniques introduce considerable delay, necessitating the use of echo cancellation algorithms. The key performance criterion of an echo canceller is its ability to deal with large echo reflections, long echo delays, fast changing echo characteristics, diverse telecommunications equipment and network effects. Our technology achieves low residual echo and fast response time to render echo effects virtually unnoticeable.
 
Fax transmission. There are two widely used techniques for real time transmission of fax over networks based on Internet protocols: fax relay and fax spoofing. Fax relay takes place when a fax is sent from a fax machine through a gateway over networks based on Internet protocols in real time to a fax machine at the other end of the network. At the gateway, the analog fax signals are demodulated back into digital data, converted into packets, routed over the packet network and reassembled at the receiving end. Fax relay is used when the round trip network delay is small (typically below one second). When the round trip network delay increases, one of the fax machines may time out while waiting for a response from the other fax machine to arrive.
 
Data modem technology. We have developed data modem technologies that facilitate data relay over packet networks. Our data modem relay software algorithms support all existing data modem standards up to a bit rate of 14.4 kbps.
 
Telephony signaling processing. Various telephony signaling standards and protocols are employed to route calls over the traditional telephone network, some of which use “in-band” methods, which means that the signaling tones are sent over the telephone line just like the voice signal. As a result, in-band signaling tones may have to undergo the compression process just like the voice signal. Most low bit-rate voice coders, however, are optimized for speech signals and exhibit poor tone transfer performance. To overcome this, our processors are equipped with tone detection and tone generation algorithms. To provide seamless transparency between the traditional telephone network and packet networks for signaling, we employ various digital signal processing techniques for efficient tone processing.

 
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Voice Communications Software
 
To transmit the compressed voice and fax over packet networks, voice packetization processes are required to construct and deconstruct each packet of data for transmission. The processing involves breaking up information into packets and adding address and control fields information according to the specifications of the appropriate packet network protocol. In addition, the software provides the interface with the signal processors and addresses packet delay and packet loss issues.
 
Media Processing
 
Our media processing products provide the enabling technology and platforms for developing enhanced voice service applications for legacy and next generation networks. We have developed media processing technologies such as message recording/playback, announcements, voice coding and mixing and call progress tone detection that enable our customers to develop and offer advanced revenue generating services such as conferencing, network announcements, voice mail and interactive voice response.
 
Our media processing technology is integrated into our enabling technology platforms like Voice over Packet processors and VoIP blades, as well as into our network platforms like the Mediant media gateways and the IPMedia media servers. The same technology is also integrated into our multi-service business gateways, enabling the use of these platforms to run third party VoIP software, offloading media processing from the host CPU.
 
Addressing Multiple Networks and Standards Concurrently
 
Convergence of wireline and wireless networks is becoming a key driver for deployment of voice over packet networks, enabling operators to use common equipment for both networks, thus lowering capital expenditures and operating expenses, while offering enriched services.
 
Our voice over packet products provide a cost-effective solution for these convergence needs, complying with the requirements of broadband Wireline operators using xDSL technologies, Cable operators, mobile operators, FTTx operators, Internet telephony service providers, or ITSPs, and virtual network Operators (VNOs). This includes support for relevant vocoders (wireline and wireless concurrently), interfaces and protocols.
 
Our products are also positioned to support the requirement of all types of enterprise customers. From SOHO, SMB all the way up to large enterprises, our products can provide integrated VoIP services and service provider access to enterprises in multiple vertical markets.
 
Hardware Architectures for Dense Multi-Trunk Voice over Packet Systems
 
Our voice over packet product offerings include high density, multi-trunk voice over packet systems for standards-based open telecommunications platforms in access equipment. Multi-trunk processing is centered around a design encompassing two key processing elements, signal processors performing voice, fax and data processing and a communications processor. Overall system performance, reliability, capacity, size, cost and power consumption are optimized, based on our hardware architecture, which supports high throughput rates for multi-trunk processing. On-board efficient network and system interfaces relieve the system controller from extensive real time data transfer and processing of data streams.

 
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Carrier Grade System Expertise
 
To provide state of the art carrier grade media gateways, we have developed a wide expertise in a number of fields essential to such a product line. We have developed or integrated the various components required to implement a full digital media gateway solution that behaves as a unified entity to the external world. This required a major investment in adapting standard cPCI and MicroTCA (AMC) platforms to our needs. Such adaptation included optimizing power supply and cooling requirements, adding centralized shelf controllers, fabric switches and alarm cards to the chassis. Another aspect of the expertise we developed relates to high availability software and hardware design. High availability is a required feature in any carrier grade media gateway platform. We have also developed a sophisticated EMS to complete our offering. Our EMS enables the user to provision and monitor a number of media gateways from a centralized location.
 
Customers
 
Our customers consist of service providers and enterprises, primarily via channels (such as distributors), OEMs, network equipment providers and systems integrators. Historically, we have derived the majority of our revenues from sales to a small number of customers. The identities of our principal customers have changed and we expect that they will continue to change, from year to year. We expect that a small number of customers will continue to account for a large percentage of our sales. Sales to Nortel Networks accounted for 17.0% of our revenues in 2007, 14.4% of our revenues in 2008 and 15.6% of our revenues in 2009. No other customer accounted for more than 10.0% of our revenues in 2007, 2008 or 2009. As a result of the continued operation of Nortel’s business in bankruptcy and the continued attempt by Nortel to sell its business units, we cannot be sure as to the amount of revenues we will receive in 2010 from Nortel or any entity that purchases a Nortel business that is one of our customers.
 
Sales and Marketing
 
Our sales and marketing strategy is to secure the leading channels and system integrators in each region, partner with leading application companies and achieve design wins with network equipment providers in our targeted markets. Prospective customers and channels generally must make a significant commitment of resources to test and evaluate our products and to integrate them into larger systems, networks, and applications. As a result, our sales process is often subject to delays associated with lengthy approval processes that typically accompany the design and testing of new communications equipment. For these reasons, the sales cycles of our products to new customers are often lengthy, averaging approximately six to twelve months after achieving a design win. This time may be further extended because of internal testing, field trials and requests for the addition or customization of features.
 
We also provide our customers with reference platform designs, which enable them to achieve easier and faster transitions from the initial prototype designs we use in the test trials through final production releases. We believe this significantly enhances our customers’ confidence that our products will meet their market requirements and product introduction schedules.

 
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We market our products in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Israel primarily through a direct sales force. We have invested significant resources in setting up local sales forces giving us a presence in relevant markets. We have given particular emphasis to emerging markets such as Latin America and Eastern Europe in addition to continuing to sell our products in developed countries.
 
Marketing managers are dedicated to principal customers to promote close cooperation and communication. Additionally, we market our products in these areas through independent sales representatives and system integrators. We select these independent entities based on their ability to provide effective field sales, marketing communications and technical support to our customers. We have generally entered into a combination of exclusive and non-exclusive sales representation agreements with these representatives in each of the major countries in which we do business. These agreements are typically for renewable 12-month terms, are terminable at will by us upon 90 days notice, and do not commit the sales representative to any minimum sales of our products to third parties. Some of our representatives have the ability to return some of the products they have previously purchased and purchase more up to date models.
 
Manufacturing
 
Texas Instruments Incorporated supplies all of the signal processor chips used for our signal processors. Other components are generic in nature and we believe they can be obtained from multiple suppliers.
 
We have not entered into any long-term supply agreements. However, we have worked for years in several countries with established global manufacturing leaders such as Flextronics and have a good experience with their level of commitment and ability to deliver. To date, we have been able to obtain sufficient amounts of these components to meet our needs and do not foresee any supply difficulty in obtaining timely delivery of any parts or components. However, an interruption in supply from any of these sources, especially with regard to signal processors from Texas Instruments Incorporated, or an unexpected termination of the manufacture of certain electronic components, could disrupt production, thereby adversely affecting our results. We generally maintain an inventory of critical components used in the manufacture and assembly of our products although our inventory of signal processor chips would likely not be sufficient in the event that we had to engage an alternate supplier for these components.
 
We utilize contract manufacturing for substantially all of our manufacturing processes. Most of our manufacturing is carried out by third-party subcontractors in Israel and China. We have extended our manufacturing capabilities through third party subcontractors in the United States and Mexico. Our internal manufacturing activities consist primarily of the production of prototypes, test engineering, materials purchasing and inspection, final product configuration and quality control and assurance.
 
In addition, we have  engaged three original design manufacturers, or ODM, based in Asia to design and manufacture some of our products. Termination of our commercial relationship with an ODM or the discontinuance of manufacturing of products by an ODM would negatively affect our business operations.

 
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We are obligated under certain agreements with our suppliers to purchase goods and under an agreement with one of our manufacturing subcontractors to purchase excess inventory.  Aggregate non-cancellable obligations under these agreements as of December 31, 2009 were approximately $930,000.
 
Industry Standards and Government Regulations
 
Our products must comply with industry standards relating to telecommunications equipment.  Before completing sales in a country, our products must comply with local telecommunications standards, recommendations of quasi-regulatory authorities and recommendations of standards-setting committees. In addition, public carriers require that equipment connected to their networks comply with their own standards. Telecommunication-related policies and regulations are continuously reviewed by governmental and industry standards-setting organizations and are always subject to amendment or change. Although we believe that our products currently meet applicable industry and government standards, we cannot be sure that our products will comply with future standards.
 
We are subject to telecommunication industry regulations and requirements set by telecommunication carriers that address a wide range of areas including quality, final testing, safety, packaging and use of environmentally friendly components.  We comply with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (under certain exemptions) that requires telecommunication equipment suppliers to not use some materials that are not environmentally friendly.  These materials include cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominatel diphenyl ethers. Under the directive, an extension for compliance was granted until July, 2010_(and it is expected that this deadline will be further extended) with respect to the usage of lead in solders in network infrastructure equipment. We expect that other countries, including countries we operate in, will adopt similar directives or other additional regulations.
 
Competition
 
Competition in our industry is intense and we expect competition to increase in the future. Our competitors currently sell products that provide similar benefits to those that we sell. There has been a significant amount of merger and acquisition activity and strategic alliances frequently involving major telecommunications equipment manufacturers acquiring smaller companies, and we expect that this will result in an increasing concentration of market share among these companies, many of whom are our customers.
 
Our principal competitors in the area of analog media gateways (2 to 24 ports) for access and enterprise are Linksys (a division of Cisco Systems, Inc.), Mediatrix Telecom, Inc., Vega Stream Limited, Samsung, Innovaphone AG, Net.com/Quintum Technologies, Tainet Communication System Corp., Welltech, Ascii Corp., D-Link Systems, Inc., Multitech Inc., Inomedia, OKI and LG.

 
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In the area of low density digital gateways and multi-service business gateways we face competition from companies such as Cisco, Adtran, Oneaccess, and more specifically in the enterprise class Session Border Controller technology with ACME Packets (Covergence), SIPera, Ingate and Edwater. In addition we face competition in low, mid and high density gateways from companies such as Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia-Siemens, Huawei, Ericsson, UTstarcom, ZTE and from Cisco, Veraz Networks, Sonus Networks, General Bandwidth, Dialogic/Cantata Technologies and Commatch (Telrad). Some of these competitors are also customers of our products and technologies.
 
Our principal competitors in the media server market segment are Dialogic/Cantata Technology/NMS Communications, Convedia/Radisys, Movius(IP Unity/Glenayre), Cognitronics and Aculab.  In addition, we face competition in software-based and hardware-based media servers from internal development at companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Comverse-NetCentrex, Nortel, Alcatel - Lucent, Nokia-Siemens and Ericsson.
 
Our principal competitors in the sale of signal processing chips are Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Infineon, Centillium, Surf and Mindspeed. Several large manufacturers of generic signal processors, such as Motorola, Agere Systems, which merged with LSI Corporation in April 2007, and Intel have begun, or are expected to begin marketing competing processors. Our principal competitors in the communications board market are Dialgic/NMS Communications/Cantata, Aculab, PIKA Technologies, Inc, Intel, and Motorola.
 
Our principal competitors in the area of IP phones are comprised of “best–of-breed” IP phone vendors and end-to-end IP telephony vendors.  “Best-of-breed” IP phone vendors sell standard-based SIP phones that can be integrated into any standards-based IP-PBX or hosted IP telephony systems. These competitors include Polycom, Mediatrix and SNOM.  End-to-end IP telephony vendors sell IP phones that only work in their proprietary systems. These competitors include Cisco, Avaya/Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens and Asstra.
 
Many of our competitors have the ability to offer vendor-sponsored financing programs to prospective customers. Some of our competitors with broad product portfolios may also be able to offer lower prices on products that compete with ours because of their ability to recoup a loss of margin through sales of other products or services. Additionally, voice, audio and other communications alternatives that compete with our products are being continually introduced.
 
In the future, we may also develop and introduce other products with new or additional telecommunications capabilities or services. As a result, we may compete directly with VoIP companies and other telecommunications infrastructure and solution  providers, some of which may be our current customers. Additional competitors may include companies that currently provide communication software products and services. The ability of some of our competitors to bundle other enhanced services or complete solutions with VoIP products could give these competitors an advantage over us.
 
Intellectual Property and Proprietary Rights
 
Our success is dependent in part upon proprietary technology. We rely primarily on a combination of patent, copyright and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions, to protect our proprietary rights. We also rely on trademark protection concerning various names and marks that serve to identify it and our products. While our ability to compete may be affected by our ability to protect our intellectual property, we believe that because of the rapid pace of technological change in our industry maintaining our technological leadership and our comprehensive familiarity with all aspects of the technology contained in our signal processors and communication boards is also of primary importance.

 
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We own U.S. patents that relate to our voice compression and session border control technologies. We also actively pursue patent protection in selected other countries of interest to us. In addition to patent protection, we seek to protect our proprietary rights through copyright protection and through restrictions on access to our trade secrets and other proprietary information which we impose through confidentiality agreements with our customers, suppliers, employees and consultants.
 
There are a number of companies besides us who hold or may acquire patents for various aspects of the technology incorporated in the ITU’s standards or other industry standards or proprietary standards, for example, in the fields of wireless and cable. While we have obtained cross-licenses from some of the holders of these other patents, we have not obtained a license from all of the holders. The holders of these other patents from whom we have not obtained licenses may take the position that we are required to obtain a license from them. Companies that have submitted their technology to the ITU (and generally other industry standards making bodies) for adoption as an industry standard are required by the ITU to undertake to agree to provide licenses to that technology on reasonable terms. Accordingly, we believe that even if we were required to negotiate a license for the use of such technology, we would be able to do so at an acceptable price. Similarly, however, third parties who also participate with respect to the same standards-setting organizations as do we may be able to negotiate a license for use of our proprietary technology at a price acceptable to them, but which may be lower than the price we would otherwise prefer to demand.
 
Under a pooling agreement dated March 3, 1995, as amended, between AudioCodes and DSP Group, Inc., on the one hand, and France Telecom, Université de Sherbrooke and their agent, Sipro Lab Telecom, on the other hand, we and DSP Group, Inc. granted to France Telecom and Université de Sherbrooke the right to use certain of our specified patents, and any other of our and DSP Group, Inc. intellectual property rights incorporated in the ITU G.723.1 standard. Likewise France Telecom and Université de Sherbrooke granted AudioCodes and DSP Group, Inc. the right to use certain of their patents and any other intellectual property rights incorporated in the G.723.1 standard. In each case, the rights granted are to design, make and use products developed or manufactured for joint contribution to the G.723.1 standard without any payment by any party to the other parties.
 
In addition, each of the parties to the agreement granted to the other parties the right to license to third parties the patents of any party included in the intellectual property required to meet the G.723.1 standard, in accordance with each licensing party’s standard patent licensing agreement. The agreement provides for the fee structure for licensing to third parties. The agreement provides that certain technical information be shared among the parties, and each of the groups agreed not to assert any patent rights against the other with respect of the authorized use of voice compression products based upon the technical information transferred. Licensing by any of the parties of the parties’ intellectual property incorporated in the G.723.1 standard to third parties is subject to royalties that are specified under the agreement.

 
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Each of the parties to the agreement is free to develop and sell products embodying the intellectual property incorporated into the G.723.1 standard without payment of royalties to other parties, so long as the G.723.1 standard is implemented as is, without modification. The agreement expires upon the last expiration date of any of the AudioCodes, DSP Group, Inc., France Telecom or Université de Sherbrooke patents incorporated in the G.723.1 standard.  The parties to the agreement are not the only claimants to technology underlying the G.723.1 standard.
 
We are aware of parties who may be infringing our technology that is part of the G.723.1 standard.  We evaluate these matters on a case by case basis, directly or through our licensing partner. Although we have not yet determined whether to pursue legal action, we may do so in the future. There can be no assurance that any legal action will be successful.
 
Third parties have claimed, and from time to time in the future may claim, that our past, current or future products infringe their intellectual property rights. Intellectual property litigation is complex and there can be no assurance of a favorable outcome of any litigation. Any future intellectual property litigation, regardless of outcome, could result in substantial expense to us and significant diversion of the efforts of our technical and management personnel. Litigation could also disrupt or otherwise severely impact our relationships with current and potential customers as well as our manufacturing, distribution and sales operations in countries where relevant third party rights are held and where we may be subject to jurisdiction. An adverse determination in any proceeding could subject us to significant liabilities to third parties, require disputed rights to be licensed from such parties, assuming licenses to such rights could be obtained, or require us to cease using such technology and expend significant resources to develop non-infringing technology. We may not be able to obtain a license at an acceptable price.
 
We have entered into technology licensing fee agreements with third parties. Under these agreements, we agreed to pay the third parties royalties, based on sales of relevant products.
 
Legal Proceedings
 
We are not a party to any material legal proceedings, except for the proceedings referred to below.
 
In September 2009, Network Gateway Solutions LLC filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware against AudioCodes Ltd. and AudioCodes Inc. and 19 other defendants alleging the infringement of certain patents owned by Network Gateway, although Network Gateway has not served AudioCodes Ltd. and, therefore, it is not a party to this proceeding. Patton Electronics, Inc., a customer of ours, is also a defendant in this litigation. We have agreed to defend Patton in this litigation. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint in January 2010. The amended complaint does not indicate the amount of monetary relief sought.
 
Prior to the acquisition of Nuera by us in 2006, one of Nuera’s customers had been named as a defendant in a patent infringement suit involving technology the customer purchased from Nuera. In the suit, the plaintiff alleged that the customer used devices to offer services that infringe upon a patent the plaintiff owns. The customer has sought indemnification from Nuera pursuant to the terms of a purchase agreement between Nuera and the customer relating to the allegedly infringing technology at issue.

 
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C.           ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
 
List of Significant Subsidiaries
 
AudioCodes Inc., our wholly-owned subsidiary, is a Delaware corporation.
 
AudioCodes UK Limited and AudioCodes Europe Limited, our wholly-owned subsidiaries, are incorporated in England.
 
D.           PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT
 
We lease our main facilities, located in Airport City, Lod, Israel, which occupy approximately 128,000 square feet for annual lease payments (including management fees) of approximately $2.6 million.  In January 2008, we increased the amount of space we leased by approximately 74,000 square feet for annual lease payments (including management fees) of approximately $1.4 million. In addition, we have entered into an agreement with Airport City, Ltd. regarding the neighboring property pursuant to which a building of approximately 145,000 square feet is being erected and will be leased to us for period of eleven years. This new building was substantially completed in May 2010. We are currently engaged in a dispute with the landlord as to when we are required to take possession of this building. We estimate the annual lease payments (including management fees) to be in the range of $2.0 million to $3.2 million depending on the amount expended by the lessor on improvements to the building. In view of current economic conditions and our reduction in personnel undertaken since 2008, we may not need to occupy the entire building and may seek to sublease all or a portion of the new building to third parties. We cannot be sure we will be able to sublease this building or a portion of it.
 
Our U.S. subsidiary, AudioCodes Inc., leases a 7,000 square foot facility in San Jose, California, and has additional offices with aggregate leased space of 16,000 square feet in Raleigh, Boston and Dallas. AudioCodes Inc. also leases a 32,000 square foot facility in Somerset, New Jersey, and a 20,000 square foot facility in Plano, Texas. The annual lease payments (including management fees) for all our offices in the United States is approximately $1 million.
 
We believe that these properties are sufficient to meet our current needs.  However, we may need to increase the size of our current facilities, seek new facilities, close certain facilities or sublease portions of our existing facilities in order to address our needs in the future.
 
ITEM 4A.         UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
 
None.

 
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ITEM 5.           OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS
 
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or U.S. GAAP. These accounting principles require management to make certain estimates, judgments and assumptions based upon information available at the time that they are made, historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. These estimates, judgments and assumptions can affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements, as well as the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the periods presented.
 
On an on-going basis, management evaluates its estimates and judgments, including those related to revenue recognition and allowance for sales returns, allowance for doubtful accounts, inventories, marketable securities, business combinations, goodwill and intangible assets, income taxes and valuation allowance, and stock-based compensation. Management bases its estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources.
 
Our management has reviewed these critical accounting policies and related disclosures with our Audit Committee. See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, which contain additional information regarding our accounting policies and other disclosures required by US GAAP.
 
Management believes the significant accounting policies that affect its more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of its consolidated financial statements and are the most critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating AudioCodes’ reported financial results include the following:
 
 
·
Revenue recognition and allowance for sales returns;
 
·
Allowance for doubtful accounts;
 
·
Inventories;
 
·
Intangible assets;
 
·
Goodwill;
 
·
Income taxes and valuation allowance; and
 
·
Stock-based compensation.
 
Revenue Recognition and Allowance for Sales Returns
 
We generate our revenues primarily from the sale of products. We sell our products through a direct sales force and sales representatives. Our customers include original equipment manufacturers, network equipment providers, systems integrators and distributors in the telecommunications and networking industries, all of whom are considered end-users.

 
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Revenues from products are recognized in accordance with Staff Accounting Bulleting (“SAB”) 104, “Revenue Recognition in Financial Statements” when the following criteria are met: (i) persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, (ii) delivery of the product has occurred, (iii) the fee is fixed or determinable and (iv) collectability is probable. We have no obligation to customers after the date on which products are delivered, other than pursuant to warranty obligations and any applicable right of return.  We grant to some of our customers the right of return or the ability to exchange a specific percentage of the total price paid for products they have purchased over a limited period for other products.
 
We maintain a provision for product returns and exchanges. This provision is based on historical sales returns, analysis of credit memo data and other known factors. This provision amounted to $559,000 in 2007, $754,000 in 2008 and $656,000 in 2009.
 
Revenues from the sale of products which were not yet determined to be final sales due to market acceptance or technological compatibility were deferred and included in deferred revenues. In cases where collectability is not probable, revenues are deferred and recognized upon collection. Revenues from services are recognized ratably over the time of the service agreement, usually one year.
 
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
 
Our trade receivables are derived from sales to customers located primarily in the Americas, the Far East, Israel and Europe. We perform ongoing credit evaluations of our customers and to date have not experienced any material losses from uncollected receivables. An allowance for doubtful accounts is determined with respect to those amounts that we have recognized as revenue and determined to be doubtful of collection. We usually do not require collateral on trade receivables because most of our sales are to large and well-established companies. On occasion we may purchase credit insurance to cover credit exposure for a portion of our sales and this may mitigate the amount we need to write off as a result of doubtful collections.
 
Inventories
 
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market value. Cost is determined using the “weighted average cost” method for raw materials and on the basis of direct manufacturing costs for finished products. We periodically evaluate the quantities on hand relative to current and historical selling prices and historical and projected sales volume and technological obsolescence. Based on these evaluations, inventory write-offs are provided to cover risks arising from slow moving items, technological obsolescence, excess inventories, discontinued products and for market prices lower than cost.  We wrote-off inventory in a total amount of $700,000 in 2007, $1.2 million in 2008 and $730,000 in 2009.
 
Intangible assets
 
As a result of our acquisitions, our balance sheet included acquired intangible assets, in the aggregate amount of approximately $19.0 million as of December 31, 2007, $8.7 million as of December 31, 2008 and $6.8 million as of December 31, 2009.

 
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We allocated the purchase price of the companies we have acquired to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed, based on their estimated fair values. These valuations require management to make significant estimations and assumptions, especially with respect to intangible assets. Critical estimates in valuing intangible assets include future expected cash flows from technology acquired, trade names, backlog and customer relationships. In addition, other factors considered are the brand awareness and market position of the products sold by the acquired companies and assumptions about the period of time the brand will continue to be used in the combined company’s product portfolio. Management’s estimates of fair value are based on assumptions believed to be reasonable, but which are inherently uncertain and unpredictable.
 
If we did not appropriately allocate these components or we incorrectly estimate the useful lives of these components, our computation of amortization expense may not appropriately reflect the actual impact of these costs over future periods, which will affect our net income.
 
Intangible assets are reviewed for impairment in accordance with ASC 360-10-35  (formerly FAS 144), “Property, Plant, and Equipment- Subsequent Measurement”, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to the future undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets. The loss is allocated to the intangible assets on a pro rata basis using the relative carrying amounts of those assets, except that the loss allocated to an individual intangible asset shall not reduce the carrying amount of that asset below its fair value whenever that fair value is determinable.
 
Our intangible assets are comprised of acquired technology, customer relations, trade names, existing contracts for maintenance and backlog. All intangible assets are amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated useful life.
 
During 2007 and 2009, no impairment charges were identified. During 2008, we recorded an impairment charge for intangible assets in the amount of $5.9 million (relating to the acquisition of Nuera).
 
Goodwill
 
As a result of our acquisitions, our balance sheet included acquired goodwill, in the aggregate amount of approximately $111.2 millions as of December 31, 2007 and $32.1 million as of December 31, 2008 and 2009.
 
ASC 350 (formerly FAS 142), “Intangible, Goodwill and Other” requires that goodwill be tested for impairment at least annually.  Goodwill is tested for impairment by comparing the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying value. Fair value is generally determined using discounted cash flows, market multiples and market capitalization. Significant estimates used in the fair value methodologies include estimates of future cash flows, future short-term and long-term growth rates, weighted average cost of capital and estimates of market multiples of the reportable unit. If these estimates or their related assumptions change in the future, we may be required to record impairment charges for our goodwill and intangible assets with an indefinite life. Our annual impairment test is performed in the fourth quarter each year.

 
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The process of evaluating the potential impairment of goodwill is subjective and requires significant judgment at many points during the analysis. In estimating the fair value of a reporting unit for the purposes of our annual or periodic analyses, we make estimates and judgments about the future cash flows of that reporting unit. Although our cash flow forecasts are based on assumptions that are consistent with our plans and estimates we are using to manage the underlying businesses, there is significant exercise of judgment involved in determining the cash flows attributable to a reporting unit over its estimated remaining useful life. In addition, we make certain judgments about allocating shared assets to the estimated balance sheets of our reporting units. We also consider our and our competitor's market capitalizations on the date we perform the analysis. Changes in judgment on these assumptions and estimates could result in a goodwill impairment charge.
 
Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price and related costs over the value assigned to net tangible and identifiable intangible assets of businesses acquired and accounted for under the purchase method. We review and test our goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level at least annually, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may be impaired. We operate in one operating segment, and this segment comprises our only reporting unit. We perform our test in the fourth quarter of each year using discounted cash flows, market multiples and market capitalization.  Significant estimates used in the methodologies include estimates of future cash-flows, future short-term and long-term growth rates, weighted average cost of capital and market multiples for the reporting unit. The fair value derived from these methodologies is then compared to the carrying value of the operating segment.
 
During 2007 and 2009, no impairment charges were identified. As a result of the impairment analysis for 2008, we determined that the goodwill balance was impaired as a result of adverse equity market conditions which caused a decline in industry market multiples and reduced fair values from our projected cash flows.  Accordingly, we recorded non-cash impairment charges of $79.1 million in 2008.
 
Income Taxes and Valuation Allowance
 
As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our income tax expense in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. This process involves us estimating our actual current tax exposure, which is accrued as taxes payable, together with assessing temporary differences resulting from differing treatment of items for tax and accounting purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets, which are included within our consolidated balance sheet. We may record a valuation allowance to reduce our deferred tax assets to the amount of future tax benefit that is more likely than not to be realized.

 
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Although we believe that our estimates are reasonable, there is no assurance that the final tax outcome and the valuation allowance will not be different than those which are reflected in our historical income tax provisions and accruals.
 
We have filed or are in the process of filing U.S. federal, state and foreign tax returns that are subject to audit by the respective tax authorities. Although the ultimate outcome is unknown, we believe that adequate amounts have been provided for and any adjustments that may result from tax return audits are not likely to materially adversely affect our consolidated results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
 
Stock-based compensation
 
We account for stock-based compensation in accordance with ASC 718  (formerly FAS 123R) ”Compensation-Stock Compensation”. We utilize the Black-Scholes option pricing model to estimate the fair value of stock-based compensation at the date of grant. The Black-Scholes model requires subjective assumptions regarding dividend yields, expected volatility, expected life of options and risk-free interest rates. These assumptions reflect management’s best estimates. Changes in these inputs and assumptions can materially affect the estimate of fair value and the amount of our stock-based compensation expenses. We recognized stock-based compensation expense of $8.0 million in 2007, $4.3 million in 2008 and $2.0 million in 2009. As of December 31, 2009, there was approximately $1.8 million of total unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to non-vested stock-based compensation arrangements granted by us. As of December 31, 2009, that expense is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 0.96 years.
 
A. 
OPERATING RESULTS
 
You should read this discussion with the consolidated financial statements and other financial information included in this Annual Report.
 
Overview
 
We design, develop and sell advanced voice over IP, or VoIP, and converged VoIP and data networking products and applications to service providers and enterprises. We are a VoIP technology leader focused on VoIP communications, applications and networking elements, and its products are deployed globally in broadband, mobile, cable, and enterprise networks. We provide a range of innovative, cost-effective products including media gateways, multi-service business gateways, residential gateways, IP phones, media servers, session border controllers, s and value-added applications.  Our underlying technology, VoIPerfectHD™, relies primarily on our leadership in DSP, voice coding and voice processing technologies. Our high definition (HD) VoIP technologies and products provide enhanced intelligibility, and a better end user communication experience in emerging Voice networks.
 
Our products enable our customers to build high-quality packet networking equipment and network solutions and provide the building blocks to connect traditional telephone networks to the VoIP networks, as well as connecting and securing multimedia communication between different packet-based networks. Our products are sold primarily to leading original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, system integrators and network equipment providers in the telecommunications and networking industries.  We have continued to broaden our offerings, both from internal and external development and through acquisitions, as we have expanded in the last few years from selling chips to boards, subsystems, media gateway systems, media servers, session border controllers and messaging platforms. We have also increased our product portfolio to enhance our position in the market and serve our channels better as a “one stop shop” for Voice over IP hardware.

 
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Our headquarters and research and development facilities are located in Israel with research and development extensions in the U.S. and U.K. We have other offices located in Europe, the Far East, and Latin America.
 
Nortel Networks, our largest customer, accounted for 17.0% of our revenues in 2007, 14.4% of our revenues in 2008 and 15.6% of our revenues in 2009. Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. Nortel has operated in bankruptcy since then while also selling a number of its business units and seeking to sell additional business units. As a result of Nortel’s bankruptcy filing, we could not recognize $1.7 million of sales to Nortel in the fourth quarter of 2008. During 2009, Nortel returned to us products with a sales price of $706,000. This amount reduced the $1.7 million of unpaid deferred revenues on our balance sheet. The remaining approximately $1.0 million of these deferred revenues represent an unsecured claim in Nortel’s bankruptcy proceeding. We do not know if we will recover any amount in the bankruptcy proceeding.
 
Our top five customers accounted for 32.8% of our revenues in 2007, 26.3% of our revenues in 2008 and 29.8% of our revenues in 2009. Based on our experience, we expect that our largest customers may change from period to period. If we lose a large customer and fail to add new customers to replace lost revenue, our operating results may be materially adversely affected.
 
Revenues based on the location of our customers for the last three fiscal years are as follows:
 
   
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
Americas
    56.6 %     52.4 %     55. 6 %
Far East
    11.2       16.4       14.6  
Europe
    25.5       23.4       21.5  
Israel
    6.7       7.8       8.3  
Total
    100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %
 
Part of our strategy over the past few years has involved the acquisition of complementary businesses and technologies. We continued implementation of this strategy with three additional acquisitions in the past three years. In July, 2006, we completed the acquisition of Nuera (merged into AudioCodes Inc. as of December 31, 2007).  Nuera provides Voice over Internet Protocol infrastructure solutions for broadband and long distance networks.

 
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In August 2006, we acquired Netrake (merged into AudioCodes Inc. as of December 31, 2007), a provider of session border controller, or SBC, and security gateway solutions. SBCs enable connectivity, policies and security for real-time media sessions, such as VoIP, video or fax, between public or private IP networks. Security gateways enable secure real-time sessions across wifi, broadband and wireless networks in field mobile convergence deployments.
 
In April 2007, we completed the acquisition of CTI Squared.  CTI Squared is a provider of enhanced messaging and communications platforms deployed globally by service providers and enterprises.  CTI Squared’s platforms integrate data and voice messaging services over internet, intranet, PSTN, cellular, cable and enterprise networks.
 
In May 2010, we acquired all of the remaining outstanding equity of Natural Speech Communication Ltd. that we did not own. NSC is based in Israel and is engaged in speech analytics and speech recognition technologies and products.
 
We believe that prospective customers generally are required to make a significant commitment of resources to test and evaluate our products and to integrate them into their larger systems. As a result, our sales process is often subject to delays associated with lengthy approval processes that typically accompany the design and testing of new communications equipment. For these reasons, the sales cycles of our products to new customers are often lengthy, averaging approximately six to twelve months.  As a result, we may incur significant selling and product development expenses prior to generating revenues from sales.
 
The currency of the primary economic environment in which our operations are conducted is the U.S. dollar, and as such, we use the U.S. dollar as our functional currency. Transactions and balances originally denominated in U.S. dollars are presented at their original amounts. All transaction gains and losses from the remeasurement of monetary balance sheet items denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies are reflected in the statement of operations as financial income or expenses, as appropriate.
 
The demand for Voice over IP, or VoIP, technology has increased during recent years. In recent years, the shift from traditional circuit-switched networks to next generation packet-switched networks continued to gain momentum. As data traffic becomes the dominant factor in communications, service providers are building and maintaining converged networks for integrated voice and data services. In developed countries, traditional and alternative service providers adopt bundled triple play (voice, video and data) and quadruple play (voice, video, data and mobile) offerings. This trend, enabled by voice and multimedia over IP, has fueled competition among cable, wireline, ISP and mobile operators, increasing the pressure for adopting and deploying VoIP networks. In addition, underdeveloped markets without basic wire line service in countries such as China and India and certain countries in Eastern Europe are adopting the use of VoIP technology to deliver voice and data services that were previously unavailable.
 
 
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The general economic downturn, including disruptions in the world credit and equity markets, has had and continues to have a significant negative impact on business around the world.  The impact of this economic environment  on the technology industry and our major customers has been severe. Conditions may continue to be depressed or may be subject to further deterioration which could lead to a further reduction in consumer and customer spending overall, which could have an adverse impact on sales of our products.  A disruption in the ability of our significant customers to access liquidity could cause serious disruptions or an overall deterioration of their businesses which could lead to a significant reduction in their orders of our products and the inability or failure on their part to meet their payment obligations to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity. In addition, any disruption in the ability of customers to access liquidity could lead customers to request longer payment terms from us or long-term financing of their purchases from us.  Granting extended payment terms or a significant adverse change in a customer’s financial and/or credit position could also require us to assume greater credit risk relating to that customer’s receivables or could limit our ability to collect receivables related to purchases by that customer.  As a result, our reserves for doubtful accounts and write-offs of accounts receivable could increase.
 
Results of Operations
 
The following table sets forth the percentage relationships of certain items from our consolidated statements of operations, as a percentage of total revenues for the periods indicated:
 
   
Year Ended December 31,
 
Statement of Operations Data:
 
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
Revenues
    100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %
Cost of revenues
    43.7       44.3       44.6  
Gross profit
    56.3       55.7       55.4  
Operating expenses:
                       
Research and development, net
    25.7       21.6       23.8  
Selling and marketing
    27.1       25.5       25.5  
General and administrative
    6.1       5.3       6.2  
Impairment of goodwill and intangible assets
    -       48.7       -  
Total operating expenses
    58.9       101.1       55.5  
                         
Operating loss
    (2.6 )     (45.4 )     (0.1 )
Financial expenses, net
    1.4       1.9       2.2  
Loss before taxes on income
    (4.3 )     (47.3 )     (2.3 )
Taxes on income
    0.8       0.3       0.2  
Equity in losses of affiliated companies, net
    0.7       1.5       0.1  
                         
Net loss
    (5.5 )%     (49.1 )%     (2.6 )%

 
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Year Ended December 31, 2009 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2008
 
Revenues.  Revenues decreased 28.0% to $125.9 million in 2009 from $174.7 million in 2008. The decrease in revenues was primarily due to the downturn in the global economy and the challenging business environment in the market for telecommunications products.
 
Gross Profit.  Cost of revenues includes the manufacturing cost of hardware, quality assurance, overhead related to manufacturing activity and technology licensing fees payable to third parties. Gross profit decreased to $69.7 million in 2009 from $97.3 million in 2008. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues decreased to 55.4% in 2009 from 55.7% in 2008.  The decrease in our gross profit percentage was primarily attributable to a decline in average selling prices of our products. The decrease in gross profit was partially offset by the results of our cost reduction plan implemented in the first quarter of 2009. In addition, the decrease in gross profit was partially offset by a reduction in manufacturing costs.
 
Research and Development Expenses, net.  Research and development expenses, net consist primarily of compensation and related costs of employees engaged in ongoing research and development activities, development-related raw materials and the cost of subcontractors less grants from the OCS. Research and development expenses decreased 20.8% to $30.0 million in 2009, from $37.8 million in 2008 and increased as a percentage of revenues to 23.8% in 2009 from 21.6% in 2008. The decrease in net research and development expenses on an absolute dollar basis was primarily due to our cost reduction plans implemented during 2008 and 2009 that reduced the number of research and development personnel and due to a decrease in stock-based compensation expense to $642,000 in 2009 from $1.5 million in 2008. We expect that research and development expenses will increase in an absolute dollar basis in 2010 as a result of our continued development of new products.
 
Selling and Marketing Expenses.  Selling and marketing expenses consist primarily of compensation for selling and marketing personnel, as well as exhibition, travel and related expenses. Selling and marketing expenses decreased 28.2% in 2009 to $32.1 million from $44.7 million in 2008. These expenses decreased primarily as a result of our cost reduction plans implemented during 2008 and 2009 which reduced the number of personnel in this area and a decrease in the stock-based compensation expense included in selling and marketing expenses to $913,000 in 2009 compared to $2.0 million in 2008, as well as a $718,000 decrease in amortization expenses. The decrease in amortization expenses was mainly due to an intangible asset impairment charge recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008. As a percentage of revenues, selling and marketing expenses were 25.5% in both 2008 and 2009.   We expect that selling and marketing expenses will increase on an absolute dollar basis in 2010 as a result of an expected increase in our sales force and marketing activities.
 
General and Administrative Expenses.  General and administrative expenses consist primarily of compensation for finance, human resources, general management, rent, network and bad debt reserve, as well as insurance and professional services expenses. General and administrative expenses decreased 15.2% to $7.8 million in 2009 from $9.2 million in 2008. As a percentage of revenues, general and administrative expenses increased to 6.2% in 2009 from 5.3% in 2008. The decrease in general and administrative expenses on an absolute dollar basis, was primarily due to our cost reduction plans implemented during 2008 and 2009 which reduced the number of our general and administrative personnel. We expect that general and administrative expenses will increase in absolute dollar terms to support our expected growth.  

 
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Impairment of Goodwill and Intangible Assets. We review goodwill for impairment annually during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an impairment loss may have occurred. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, in connection with the impact of weakening market conditions on our forecasts and a sustained, significant decline in the market capitalization to a level lower than our net book value, it was concluded that triggering events existed and we were required to test intangible assets and goodwill for impairment, in accordance with ASC 360-10-35 (formerly SFAS 144) "Property, Plant, and Equipment- Subsequent Measurement" and ASC 350 (formerly FAS 142) "Intangible, Goodwill and Other". As a result, in the fourth quarter of 2008, we recorded a goodwill impairment charge of approximately $79.1 million and an intangible assets impairment charge of $5.9 million. These impairment charges did not impact our business operations, cash flows or compliance with the financial covenants in our loan agreements. In 2009, there was no impairment charge.
 
Financial Expenses, Net.  Financial expenses, net consist primarily of interest derived on cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities, bank deposits and structured notes, net of interest accrued in connection with our senior convertible notes and bank loans and bank charges. Financial expenses, net, in 2009 were $2.7 million compared to $3.3 million in 2008. The decrease in financial expenses, net in 2009 was primarily due to lower interest expense recorded with respect to our senior convertible notes following the repurchase of notes in the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009.
 
Taxes on Income.  Income taxes, net, were $290,000 in 2009 compared to $505,000 in 2008. The decrease is principally attributable to previous year’s tax refund received in 2009.
 
Equity in Losses of Affiliated Companies, Net.  Equity in losses of affiliated companies, net was $76,000 in 2009 compared to $2.6 million in 2008.  The decrease in these expenses is attributable to consolidating the financial results of NSC into our operating results starting December 1, 2008. Also, in 2008, these expenses included an impairment charge of $1.1 million related to an investment in an affiliate.
 
Year Ended December 31, 2008 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2007
 
Revenues.  Revenues increased 10.4% to $174.7 million in 2008 from $158.2 million in 2007. The increase in revenues was primarily due to an increase in revenues from our networking business.
 
Gross Profit.  Cost of revenues includes the manufacturing cost of hardware, quality assurance, overhead related to manufacturing activity and technology licensing fees payable to third parties. Gross profit increased to $97.3 million in 2008 from $89.1 million in 2007. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues decreased to 55.7% in 2008 from 56.3% in 2007.  The decrease in our gross profit percentage was primarily attributable to a less favorable product mix in 2008 and a decline in average selling prices of our products. The decrease in gross profit percentage was partially offset by the higher sales volume that allowed us to leverage our manufacturing overhead over a larger sales base as well as a reduction in manufacturing costs due to a reduction in our raw material costs and our cost reduction plan implemented in 2008.

 
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Research and Development Expenses, net.  Research and development expenses, net consist primarily of compensation and related costs of employees engaged in ongoing research and development activities, development-related raw materials and the cost of subcontractors less grants from the OCS. Research and development expenses decreased 7.1% to $37.8 million in 2008, from $40.7 million in 2007 and decreased as a percentage of revenues to 21.6% in 2008 from 25.7% in 2007. The decrease in net research and development expenses, both on an absolute and a percentage basis, was primarily due to our cost reduction plans implemented during 2007 and 2008 and due to a decrease in stock-based compensation expense which amounted to $1.5 million in 2008 and $3.0 million in 2007.
 
Selling and Marketing Expenses.  Selling and marketing expenses consist primarily of compensation for selling and marketing personnel, as well as exhibition, travel and related expenses. Selling and marketing expenses increased 4.1% in 2008 to $44.7 million from $42.9 million in 2007. These expenses increased because the effect of the higher value of the NIS compared to the U.S. dollar increased the cost of expenses denominated in NIS and higher commissions on sales were greater than the decrease in expenses as a result of our reduction in personnel. As a percentage of revenues, selling and marketing expenses decreased to 25.5% in 2008 from 27.1% in 2007. The decrease in selling and marketing expenses on a percentage basis was primarily a result of our revenues increasing at a faster rate than these expenses and due to a decrease in the stock-based compensation expense included in selling and marketing expenses which was $2.0 million in 2008 compared to $3.5 million in 2007.
 
General and Administrative Expenses.  General and administrative expenses consist primarily of compensation for finance, human resources, general management, rent, network and bad debt reserve, as well as insurance and professional services expenses. General and administrative expenses decreased 4.3% to $9.2 million in 2008 from $9.6 million in 2007. As a percentage of revenues, general and administrative expenses decreased to 5.3% in 2008 from 6.1% in 2007. The decrease in general and administrative expenses was primarily due to our cost reduction plans implemented during 2007 and 2008.
 
Impairment of Goodwill and Intangible Assets. We review goodwill for impairment annually during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an impairment loss may have occurred. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, in connection with the impact of weakening market conditions on our forecasts and a sustained, significant decline in the market capitalization to a level lower than our net book value, it was concluded that triggering events existed and we were required to test intangible assets and goodwill for impairment, in accordance with ASC 360-10-35 (formerly SFAS 144) "Property, Plant and Equipment- Subsequent Measurement" and ASC 350 (formerly SFAS 142) "Intangible, Goodwill and Other". As a result, in the fourth quarter of 2008, we recorded a goodwill impairment charge of approximately $79.1 million and an intangible assets impairment charge of $5.9 million. These impairment charges do not impact our business operations, cash flows or compliance with the financial covenants in our loan agreements. There was no impairment charge in 2007.

 
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Financial Expenses, Net.  Financial expenses, net consist primarily of interest accrued in connection with our senior convertible notes and bank loans and bank charges, net of interest derived on cash and cash equivalents, short-term and long-term marketable securities, short-term and long-term bank deposits and structured notes, . Financial expenses, net, in 2008 were $3.3 million compared to $2.2 million in 2007. The increase in financial expenses, net in 2008 was primarily due to lower interest rates and interest income, net, on the remaining net proceeds from our sale of senior convertible notes in November 2004 and due to interest expenses related to bank borrowings in the aggregate amount of $30 million during the second and third quarters of 2008, offset in part by reduced interest expense as the result of the repurchase of senior convertible notes in the fourth quarter of 2008.
 
Taxes on Income.  Taxes on income were $505,000 in 2008 compared to $1.3 million in 2007. The decrease was principally attributable to a reduction in the deferred tax liability.
 
Equity in Losses of Affiliated Companies, Net.  Equity in losses of affiliated companies, net was $2.6 million in 2008 compared to $1.1 million in 2007.  The increase in 2008 was primarily due to an impairment charge of $1.1 million related to an investment in an affiliate.
 
Impact of Inflation, Devaluation and Fluctuation of Currencies on Results of Operations, Liabilities and Assets
 
Since the majority of our revenues are paid in or linked to the U.S. dollar, we believe that inflation and fluctuations in the NIS/U.S. dollar exchange rate have no material effect on our revenues. However, a majority of the cost of our Israeli operations, mainly personnel and facility-related, is incurred in NIS.  Inflation in Israel and U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuations have some influence on our expenses and, as a result, on our net income. Our NIS costs, as expressed in U.S. dollars, are influenced by the extent to which any increase in the rate of inflation in Israel is not offset (or is offset on a lagging basis) by a devaluation of the NIS in relation to the U.S. dollar.
 
To protect against the changes in value of forecasted foreign currency cash flows resulting from payments in NIS, we maintain a foreign currency cash flow hedging program. We hedge portions of our forecasted expenses denominated in foreign currencies with forward contracts. These measures may not adequately protect us from material adverse effects due to the impact of inflation in Israel.
 
The following table presents information about the rate of inflation in Israel, the rate of devaluation of the NIS against the U.S. dollar, and the rate of inflation in Israel adjusted for the devaluation:
 
Year ended 
December 31,
 
Israeli 
inflation 
rate 
%
   
NIS 
Devaluation 
Rate 
%
   
Israeli inflation
adjusted for
devaluation 
%
 
                         
2007
    3.4       (9.0 )     12.4  
2008
    3.8       (1.1 )     4.9  
2009
    3.9       (0.7 )     4.6  
                         
Five months ended May 31, 2010
    0.0       1.4       (1.4 )
 
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Recent Accounting Pronouncements
 
Effective in 2009:
 
On January 1, 2009, we adopted an amendment to ASC 810, "Consolidation" (originally issued as FAS 160). According to the amendment, non-controlling interest in a subsidiary is an ownership interest in the consolidated entity that should be reported as a separate component of equity in the consolidated financial statements. As such, changes in the parent's ownership interest with no change of control are treated as equity transactions, rather than step acquisitions or dilution gains or losses. The amendment clarifies that losses of partially owned consolidated subsidiaries shall continue to be allocated to the non-controlling interests even when their investment was already reduced to zero.

The amendment applies prospectively, except for the presentation and disclosure requirements, which are applied retrospectively to all periods presented. As a result, upon adoption, we retroactively reclassified the "Minority interests" balance to be presented in a new caption in total shareholders' equity, "Non-controlling interest". The adoption also impacted certain captions previously used in the consolidated statement of operations, largely identifying net loss including the portion attributable to non-controlling interest and net loss attributable to AudioCodes' shareholders. This amendment required us to include the accumulated amount of non-controlling interest as part of shareholders' equity ($228 at December 31, 2008).

The net loss amounts we have previously reported are now presented as "Net loss attributable to AudioCodes' shareholders," and, as required, net loss per share continue to reflect amounts attributable only to AudioCodes' shareholders. Similarly, in the statements of changes in shareholders' equity, we distinguished between equity amounts attributable to AudioCodes' shareholders and amounts attributable to the non-controlling interest.

In June 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued a standard that established the FASB Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") and amended the hierarchy of generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") such that the ASC became the single source of authoritative U.S. GAAP. Rules and interpretive releases issued by the SEC under authority of federal securities law are also sources of the authoritative GAAP for SEC registrants. All other literature is considered non-authoritative. New accounting standards issued subsequent to June 30, 2009 are communicated by the FASB through Accounting Standards Updates ("ASUs"). The ASC is effective from September 1, 2009. Throughout the notes to the consolidated financial statements references that were previously made to former authoritative U.S. GAAP pronouncements have been changed to coincide with the appropriate section of the ASC.

 
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Effective January 1, 2009, we applied an amendment to ASC 470-20, “Debt with Conversion and Other Options” (formerly FSP APB 14-1 "Accounting for Convertible Debt Instruments That May Be Settled in Cash upon Conversion (Including Partial Cash Settlement))". The amended ASC stipulates that issuers of convertible debt instruments that may be settled in cash upon conversion (including partial cash settlement) should separately account for the liability and equity components of those instruments by allocating the proceeds from issuance of the instrument between the liability component (the “Liability Component”) and the embedded conversion option (the “Equity Component”). This allocation is done by first determining the carrying amount of the Liability Component based on the fair value of a similar liability excluding the Equity Component, and then allocating to the Equity Component the excess of the initial proceeds ascribed to the convertible debt instrument over the amount allocated to the Liability Component. That excess is reported as a debt discount and subsequently amortized as interest cost over the instrument's expected life using the interest method. The cumulative effect of the change in accounting principle on periods prior to these presented in the amount of $9,329 is recognized as of January 1, 2007, as an offsetting adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings for that period.

We used the income approach in order to estimate the value of the Liability Component. Under the income approach, the fair value of the liability component is determined based on the present value of the future cash flows using a discount rate that reflects the required rate of return for the liability. We used the following assumptions in order to estimate the required rate of return on the liability component: (1) time to maturity was determined to be 5 years, based on the assumption that the notes would be redeemed by the investors at their earliest contractual redemption date, (2) average yeild to maturity was derived from traded bonds with similar default risk and time to maturity as the convertible notes, and (3) the default risk was determined by comparing the Company’s historical financial ratios to those of other companies rated by Standard & Poor.
 
Still not effective:
 
In October 2009, the FASB issued an update to ASC 605-25, "Revenue recognition – Multiple-Element Arrangements", that provides amendments to the criteria for separating consideration in multiple-deliverable arrangements to:
 
1)           Provide updated guidance on whether multiple deliverables exist, how the deliverables in an arrangement should be separated, and how the consideration should be allocated;
 
2)           Require an entity to allocate revenue in an arrangement using estimated selling prices ("ESP") of deliverables if a vendor does not have vendor-specific objective evidence of selling price ("VSOE") or third-party evidence of selling price ("TPE");

 
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3)           Eliminate the use of the residual method and require an entity to allocate revenue using the relative selling price method; and
 
4)           Require expanded disclosures of qualitative and quantitative information regarding application of the multiple-deliverable revenue arrangement guidance.

 
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The mandatory adoption date is January 1, 2011. We may elect to adopt the update prospectively, to new or materially modified arrangements beginning on the adoption date, or retrospectively, for all periods presented. We are currently evaluating the impact of this update on our consolidated results of operations and financial condition.
 
In January 2010, the FASB updated the "Fair Value Measurements Disclosures". More specifically, this update will require (a) an entity to disclose separately the amounts of significant transfers in and out of Levels 1 and 2 fair value measurements and to describe the reasons for the transfers; and (b) information about purchases, sales, issuances and settlements to be presented separately (i.e. present the activity on a gross basis rather than net) in the reconciliation of fair value measurements using significant unobservable inputs (Level 3 inputs). This update clarifies existing disclosure requirements for the level of disaggregation used for classes of assets and liabilities measured at fair value, and requires disclosures about the valuation techniques and inputs used to measure fair value for both recurring and nonrecurring fair value measurements using Level 2 and Level 3 inputs. As applicable to us, this update will become effective as of the first interim or annual reporting period beginning after December 15, 2009, except for the gross presentation of the Level 3 roll forward information, which is required for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2010 and for interim reporting periods within those years. We do not expect that the adoption of this update will have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
 
B.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
 
We have financed our operations for the last three years, from the remaining proceeds of our sale of convertible notes, as well as with cash from operations in those years.
 
In November 2004, we raised net proceeds of approximately $120.2 million in a private placement of $125.0 million aggregate principal amount of our 2.00% Senior Convertible Notes due 2024.  Holders of the notes are entitled to convert the notes into our ordinary shares at a conversion rate of 53.4474 ordinary shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, which is the equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $18.71 per share.  The conversion rate is subject to adjustment in certain circumstances, such as changes in our capital structure or upon the issuance by us of share dividends or certain cash distributions. During 2008, we repurchased $51.5 million in principal amount of our 2% Senior Convertible Notes for a total cost, including accrued interest, of $50.2 million. In November 2009, we repurchased approximately $73.1 million in principal amount of the Notes.  As of December 31, 2009, there was a total of $403,000 in principal amount of the Notes outstanding. The remaining outstanding Notes may be redeemed by us, in whole or in part at any time.  The holders of these outstanding Notes may require us to redeem the Notes on November 9, 2014 or November 9, 2019, or upon certain fundamental changes.
 
In April and July 2008, we entered into loan agreements with banks in Israel that provide for borrowings of an aggregate of $30 million. The loans bear interest at an annual rate equal to LIBOR plus 1.3%-1.5% with respect to $23 million of borrowings and LIBOR plus 0.5%-0.65% with respect to $7 million of borrowings.   The principal amount borrowed is repayable in 20 equal quarterly payments from August 2008 through July 2013. The banks have a lien on our assets and we are required to maintain $7 million of compensating balances with the banks.  The agreements require us, among other things, to maintain shareholders' equity at specified levels and to achieve certain levels of operating income. The agreements also restrict us from paying dividends. As of December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010, we were in compliance with the covenants contained in the loan agreements.

 
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As of December 31, 2009, we had $52.9 million in cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities and bank deposits, a decrease of approximately $62.2 million from $115.1 million at December 31, 2008.  The decline in this amount was primarily attributable to the repurchase of approximately $73.1 million in principal amount of our Senior Convertible Notes in the fourth quarter of 2009, offset, in part, by cash provided by operating activities.
 
In January 2008, our Board approved a program to repurchase up to 4,000,000 of our ordinary shares. Purchases would be made from time-to-time at the discretion of management subject, among other things, to our share price and market conditions. If management elects to have us purchase our shares, we will use a portion of our cash to effect these purchases. In 2008, we repurchased a total of approximately 3.5 million ordinary shares at a total cost of $13.7 million.  We did not repurchase any of our ordinary shares in 2009.
 
Cash from Operating Activities
 
Our operating activities provided cash in the amount of $21.0 million in 2009, primarily due to a decrease in trade receivables, net, of $11.0 million, a decrease in inventories of $7.1 million, non-cash depreciation and amortization expenses of $5.0 million and non-cash amortization of discount and deferred charges on our senior convertible notes of $2.9 million, offset, in part, by our net loss, a decrease of $3.5 million in other payables and accrued expenses and a decrease of $3.1 million in trade payables. Our trade receivables and our inventories decreased primarily because of our lower sales volume in 2009 than in  2008. Our trade receivables also decreased because of increased collection efforts. Our trade payables, other payables and accrued expenses decreased primarily because of our lower cost of goods sold in 2009 than in 2008 and implementation of cost reduction steps and a wage cut in January 2009.
 
Our operating activities provided cash in the amount of $16.4 million in 2008, primarily due to non-cash expenses in the amount of $86.1 million for impairment charges, $7.4 million for depreciation and amortization, $4.3 million for stock-based compensation and $1.5 million of equity in losses of affiliated companies, as well as an increase of $3.1 million in trade and other payables, offset, in part, by our net loss and a decrease of $3.5 million in trade and other receivables and an increase of $1.8 million in inventories.  Our trade and other payables increased because of extended payment terms granted to us by suppliers.  Our trade and other receivables decreased because we had lower revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008 than in the same period in 2007 and because of increased year-end collection efforts. Inventory increased primarily because of lower than expected revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008.
 
Our operating activities provided cash in the amount of $12.4 million in 2007, primarily due to a decrease of $5.0 million in trade receivables and non-cash charges of $8.0 million for stock-based compensation and $7.8 million for depreciation and amortization, offset, in part, by our net loss and a decrease of $5.1 million in trade and other payables and an increase of $2.6 million in inventories.

 
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Cash from Investing Activities
 
In 2009, our investing activities provided cash in the amount of $60.3 million, primarily due to the net proceeds from bank deposits and from redemption of marketable securities on maturity.
 
In 2008, our investing activities used cash in the amount of $20.0 million, primarily due to the excess of our investment in marketable securities and short-term and long-term bank deposits and payments in connection with the acquisition of CTI Squared over proceeds from bank deposits and sale and maturity of marketable securities.
 
In 2007, our investing activities provided cash in the amount of $32.7 million, primarily due to our proceeds from the maturity of marketable securities and structured notes.
 
Cash from Financing Activities
 
In 2009, we used cash in financing activities of $79.1 million as a result of $73.1 million used to repurchase our Senior Convertible Notes and $6.0 million used for repayment of bank loans.
 
In 2008, our financing activities used $34.7 million due to $50.2 million used to repurchase our Senior Convertible Notes and $13.7 million used to repurchase our ordinary shares offset, in part, by bank borrowings in the aggregate amount of $30 million.
 
In 2007, financing activities provided $4.8 million due to proceeds from issuance of our shares upon exercise of options and from purchases of our shares under our Employee Stock Purchase Plans.
 
Financing Needs
 
We anticipate that our operating expenses will be a material use of our cash resources for the foreseeable future.  We believe that our current working capital is sufficient to meet our operating cash requirements for at least the next twelve months, including payments required under our existing bank loans.  Part of our strategy is to pursue acquisition opportunities. If we do not have available sufficient cash to finance our operations and the completion of additional acquisitions, we may be required to obtain additional debt or equity financing. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain, if required, additional financing on acceptable terms or at all.
 
C.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, PATENTS AND LICENSES, ETC.
 
Research and Development
 
In order to accommodate the rapidly changing needs of our markets, we place considerable emphasis on research and development projects designed to improve our existing products and to develop new ones. We are developing more advanced communications boards, analog and digital media gateways for carrier and enterprise applications, media servers and session border controllers. Our platforms will feature increased trunk capacity, new functionalities, enhanced signaling software and compliance with new control protocols. As of December 31, 2009, 248 of our employees were engaged primarily in research and development on a full-time basis. We also employed 2 employees on a part-time basis.

 
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Our research and development expenses were $30.0 million in 2009 compared to $37.8 million in 2008 and $40.7 million in 2007 . From time to time we have received royalty-bearing grants from the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, or the OCS. As a recipient of grants from the OCS, we are obligated to perform all manufacturing activities for projects subject to the grants in Israel unless we receive an exemption. Know-how from the research and development which is used to produce products may not be transferred to third parties without the approval of the OCS and may further require significant payments. The OCS approval is not required for the export of any products resulting from such research or development. Through December 31, 2009, we had obtained grants from the OCS aggregating $8.5 million for certain of our research and development projects. We are obligated to pay royalties to the OCS, amounting to 3%-4.5% of the sales of the products and other related revenues generated from such projects, up to 100% of the grants received, linked to the U.S. dollar and bearing interest at the rate of LIBOR at the time of grant. The obligation to pay these royalties is contingent on actual sales of the products and in the absence of such sales no payment is required.
 
D.
TREND INFORMATION
 
The accelerated demand for VoIP technology has impacted our business during the last few years. Over the past few years, the shift from traditional circuit-switched networks to next generation packet-switched networks has continued to gain momentum. As data traffic becomes the dominant factor in communications, service providers are building and maintaining converged networks for integrated voice and data services. In addition, underdeveloped markets without basic wire line service in countries such as China and India and certain countries in Eastern Europe are beginning to use VoIP technology to deliver voice and data services that were previously unavailable. In addition, the growth in broadband access and related technologies has driven the emergence of alternative service providers. This in turn stimulates competition with incumbent providers, encouraging them to adopt voice over packet technologies. The entry of new industry players and the demand for new equipment have impacted our business in the last few years.
 
In 2009, we continued to experience pressure to shorten our lead times in supplying products to customers. Some of our customers are implementing “demand pull” programs by which they only purchase our product very close to the time, if not simultaneously with the time, they plan to sell their product. We are increasing our sales efforts in new markets, such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Far East. We have introduced new system level products, and applications in our product lines.  We are still experiencing low visibility into customer demand for our products and our ability to predict our level of sales.
 
E.
OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS
 
We do not have any “off-balance sheet arrangements” as this term is defined in Item 5E of Form 20-F.

 
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F.
TABULAR DISCLOSURE OF CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS
 
As of December 31, 2009, our contractual obligations were as follows (in thousands):
 
   
PAYMENTS DUE BY PERIOD
       
   
LESS THAN
1 YEAR
   
1-3
YEARS
   
3-5
YEARS
   
MORE
THAN 5
YEARS
   
TOTAL
 
Senior convertible notes
                403             403  
Bank loans
    6,000       15,750                     21,750  
Rent and lease commitments
    4,686       11,770       4,813       12,901       34,170  
Severance pay fund (1)
                                    1,101  
Uncertain tax positions (2)
                                    322  
Office of the Chief Scientist
                            8,715       8,715  
Other commitments
    930                         930  
(1)   Our obligation for accrued severance pay under Israel’s Severance Pay Law as of December 31, 2009 was $13.3 million. This obligation is payable only upon termination, retirement or death of the respective employee. We have funded $12.2 million through deposits into severance pay funds, leaving a net obligation of approximately $1.1 million.
 
(2) Uncertain income tax position under ASC 740 (formerly FASB Interpretation No 48), “Income Taxes”, are due upon settlement and we are unable to reasonably estimate the ultimate amount of timing of settlement. See also Note 14f in our Consolidated Financial Statements for further information regarding our liability under ASC 740.
 
 
ITEM 6.
DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES
 
A.
DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT
 
The following table sets forth certain information with respect to our directors, senior executive officers and key employees at June 15, 2010:
 
Name
 
Age
 
Position
Shabtai Adlersberg
 
57
 
Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer
Lior Aldema
 
44
 
Chief Operating Officer
Jeffrey Kahn
 
52
 
Chief Strategy Officer
Eyal Frishberg
 
52
 
Vice President, Operations
Eli Nir
 
44
 
Vice President, Research and Development
Yehuda Hershkovici
 
43
 
Vice President, Systems
Tal Dor
 
41
 
Vice President, Human Resources
Gary Drutin
 
49
 
Vice President, Global Sales
Joseph Tenne(1)(2)(3)
 
54
 
Director
Dr. Eyal Kishon(1)(2)(3)
 
49
 
Director
Doron Nevo(1)(2)(3)
 
54
 
Director
Osnat Ronen(1)(2)
 
48
 
Director
 

(1) Member of Audit Committee
(2) Member of Nominating Committee
(3) Member of Compensation Committee

 
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Shabtai Adlersberg co-founded AudioCodes in 1993, and has served as our Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer since inception. He has also acted as our Interim Chief Financial Officer since May 1, 2010. Mr. Adlersberg co-founded DSP Group, a semiconductor company, in 1987. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Adlersberg served as the Vice President of Engineering of DSP Group, and from 1990 to 1992, he served as Vice President of Advanced Technology. As Vice President of Engineering, Mr. Adlersberg established a research and development team for digital cellular communication which was spun-off in 1992 as DSP Communications. Mr. Adlersberg also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Natural Speech Communication Ltd. and as a director of MailVision Ltd and CTI Squared Ltd. Mr. Adlersberg holds an M.Sc. in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Tel Aviv University and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, or the Technion.
 
Lior Aldema has served as Chief Operating Officer since January 2010 and previously served as our Vice President, Product Management from 2002 until 2009, as well as our Vice President Marketing from February 2003 until 2009. He has been employed by us since 1998, when he was team leader and later headed our System Software Group in our research and development department. Prior to 1998, Mr. Aldema served as an officer in the Technical Unit of the Intelligence Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces (Major), heading both operational units and large development groups related to various technologies. Mr. Aldema holds an M.B.A. from Tel Aviv University and a B.Sc. from the Technion.
 
Jeffrey Kahn has served as our Chief Strategy Officer since January 2010. Prior to joining us, Mr. Kahn served as Founder and Managing Director of Strategy3i, a global consultancy that he established in 2007 to provide counseling to leading global companies, including Pfizer, Unicredit and Renova, among others. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Kahn served as a director of investment banking at Maxim Group LLC, and from 1995 to 2005 he served as the Chief Strategic Officer of Ruder Finn International, one of the world’s largest and oldest independent global communications firms.  Mr. Kahn holds a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brooklyn College and has done graduate studies in international relations and psychology at Tel Aviv University.

 
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Eyal Frishberg has served as our Vice President, Operations since October 2000. From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Frishberg served as Associate Vice President, SDH Operations in ECI Telecom Ltd., a major telecommunication company. From 1987 to 1997, Mr. Frishberg worked in various operational positions in ECI Telecom including as manager of ECI production facility and production control. Mr. Frishberg worked from 1994 until 1997 for ELTA company, part of Israeli Aircraft Industries in the planning and control department. Mr. Frishberg holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University and an M.B.A. from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
 
Eli Nir has served as our Vice President, Research and Development since April 2001. He has been employed by us since 1996, when he founded and headed our System Software Group in our research and development department. Prior to 1996, Mr. Nir served as an officer in the Technical Unit of the Intelligence Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces (Major), heading both operational units and large development groups mostly related to digital processing. Mr. Nir holds an M.B.A. and an M.Sc. from Tel Aviv University in Digital Speech Processing and a B.Sc. from the Technion.
 
Yehuda Hershkovici has served as our Vice President, Systems Group since 2003. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Hershkovici served as our Vice President, Advanced Products. From 2000 to 2001, Mr. Hershkovici served as our Director of Advanced Technologies. From 1994 to 1998 and during 1999, Mr. Hershkovici held a variety of research and development positions at Advanced Recognition Technologies, Ltd., a voice and handwriting recognition company, heading its research and development from 1999 to 2000 as Vice President, Research and Development. From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Hershkovici was engaged in developing various wireless communication algorithms at Comsys, a telecommunications company. Mr. Hershkovici holds an M.Sc. and a B.Sc., from the Technion both in the area of telecommunications.
 
Tal Dor has served as our Vice President of Human Resources since March 2000. Prior to March 2000, Ms. Dor acted for several years as a consultant in Israel to, among others, telephone and cable businesses, as well as health and social service organizations. Ms. Dor holds a B.A. in psychology, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and an M.A. in psychology from Tel Aviv University.
 
Gary Drutin currently serves as our Vice President of Global Sales.  Mr. Drutin was the Vice President of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Latin America from 2005 until 2007 and Vice President of Channel Operations and Marketing from 2004 until 2005.  From 2001 until 2004, Mr. Drutin was Country Manager and General Manager for Cisco Israel, Cyprus and Malta and from 1997 until 2001 served as regional sales manager for service providers and enterprises for Cisco Israel. From 1990 until 1997, he served in sales management roles at Digital Equipment Corporation Israel. Mr. Drutin holds an M.B.A degree from Tel-Aviv University in Information Systems and Marketing and a B.Sc. degree in Computer Engineering from the Technion.
 
Joseph Tenne has served as one of our directors since June 2003. Mr. Tenne is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Ormat Technologies, Inc., a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which is engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy business. Since January 2006, Mr. Tenne has also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Ormat Industries Ltd., an Israeli holding company listed on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange and the parent company of Ormat Technologies, Inc.  From 2003 to 2004, Mr. Tenne was the Chief Financial Officer of Treofan Germany GmbH & Co. KG, a German company, which is engaged in the development, production and marketing of oriented polypropylene films, which are mainly used in the food packaging industry. From 1997 until 2003, Mr. Tenne was a partner in Kesselman & Kesselman, Certified Public Accountants in Israel and a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited. Mr. Tenne holds a B.A. in Accounting and Economics and an M.B.A. from Tel Aviv University. Mr. Tenne is also a Certified Public Accountant in Israel.

 
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Dr. Eyal Kishon has served as one of our directors since 1997.  Since 1996, Dr. Kishon has been Managing Partner of Genesis Partners, an Israel-based venture capital fund.  From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Kishon served as Associate Director of Dovrat-Shrem/Yozma-Polaris Fund Limited Partnership.  Prior to that, Dr. Kishon served as Chief Technology Officer at Yozma Venture Capital from 1992 to 1993.  Dr. Kishon serves as a director of Allot Communications Ltd and Celtro Inc.  From 1991 to 1992, Dr. Kishon was a Research Fellow in the Multimedia Department of IBM Science & Technology.  From 1989 to 1991, Dr. Kishon worked in the Robotics Research Department of AT&T Bell Laboratories.  Dr. Kishon holds a B.A. in Computer Science from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University.
 
Doron Nevo has served as one of our directors since 2000.  Mr. Nevo is President and CEO of KiloLambda Technologies Ltd., an optical subsystems company, which he co-founded in 2001.  From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Nevo was involved in fund raising activities for Israeli-based startup companies.  From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Nevo served as President and CEO of NKO, Inc.  Mr. Nevo established NKO in early 1995 as a startup subsidiary of Clalcom, Ltd.  NKO designed and developed a full scale, carrier grade, IP telephony system platform and established its own IP network.  From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Nevo was President and CEO of Clalcom Ltd.  Mr. Nevo established Clalcom in 1992 as a telecom service provider in Israel.  He also serves on the board of a number of companies, including Utility Wireless Corp. (a manufacturer of radio frequency sub-systems), Elcom Technologies (manufacturer of Satcom and digital radio synthesizers), Notox, Ltd. (a biotech company), BioCancell, Inc. and Bank Adanim.  Mr. Nevo holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and an M.Sc. in Telecommunications Management from Brooklyn Polytechnic.
 
Osnat Ronen has served as one of our directors since December 2007. Ms. Ronen has served as General Partner of Viola Private Equity since January 2008.  From 2001 until 2007, Ms. Ronen was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Leumi & Co. Investment House, the private equity investment arm and investment banking services arm of the Leumi Group.  Prior to this position, she was Deputy Head of the Subsidiaries Division of Leumi Group from 1999 until 2001.  Ms. Ronen serves as a director of Leumi Leasing and Investments Ltd., National Consultants (Netconsultant) Ltd., Fox-Wizel Ltd., Paz Oil Company Ltd. and Keshet Broadcasting Ltd.  Ms. Ronen received an M.B.A. degree and a BSc degree in mathematics and computer science from the Tel Aviv University.
 
B.
COMPENSATION
 
The aggregate direct remuneration paid during the year ended December 31, 2009 to the 14 persons who served in the capacity of director, senior executive officer or key employee during 2009 was approximately $2.6 million, including approximately $308,000 which was set aside for pension and retirement benefits. Two of the persons who were officers in 2009 are no longer employed by us. The compensation amounts do not include amounts expended by us for automobiles made available to our officers, expenses (including business, travel, professional and business association dues and expenses) reimbursed to officers and other fringe benefits commonly reimbursed or paid by companies in Israel.

 
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Stock options to purchase our ordinary shares granted to persons who served in the capacity of director or executive officer under our 1997, 1999 and 2008 Stock Option Plans are generally exercisable at the fair market value at the date of grant, and expire ten years (under the 1997 Plan) and seven years (under the 1999 Plan and the 2008 Plan), respectively, from the date of grant. The options are generally exercisable in four equal annual installments, commencing one year from the date of grant.
 
As of December 31, 2009, both the 1997 and 1999 Stock Option Plans had expired and no options are available for future grants under these plans.
 
A summary of our stock option activity and related information for the years ended December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009 for the 14 persons who served in the capacity of director, senior executive or key employee officer during 2009 is as follows:
 
   
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
   
Number
of
Options
   
Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price
   
Number
of
Options
   
Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price
   
Number
of
Options
   
Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price
 
Outstanding at the beginning of the year
    1,842,269     $ 9.72       2,002,269     $ 7.54       1,778,269     $ 7.66  
                                                 
Granted
    352,500     $ 6.42       85,000     $ 3.25       483,577     $ 1.42  
Cancelled
    (176,000 )             (225,000 )             (358,418 )        
Exercised
    (16,500 )   $ 2.31       (84,000 )   $ 2.23       (37,500 )   $ 0  
                                                 
Outstanding at the end of the year
    2,002,269     $ 7.54       1,778,269     $ 7.66       1,865,928     $ 6.44  

As of December 31, 2009, options to purchase 1,262,351 ordinary shares were exercisable by the 14 persons who served as an officer or director during 2009 at an average exercise price of $8.21 per share.
 
Under the Israeli Companies Law, the compensation arrangements for officers who are not directors require the approval of the board of directors, unless the articles of association provide otherwise.  Our articles of association do not provide otherwise. Arrangements regarding the compensation of directors require the approval of the audit committee, the board and the shareholders, in that order.

 
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C.
BOARD PRACTICES
 
Corporate Governance Practices
 
We are incorporated in Israel and therefore are subject to various corporate governance practices under the Israeli Companies Law, 1999, or the Companies Law, relating to such matters as outside directors, the audit committee, the internal auditor and approvals of interested party transactions.  These matters are in addition to the ongoing listing conditions of the Nasdaq Global Select Market and other relevant provisions of U.S. securities laws.  Under the Nasdaq rules, a foreign private issuer may generally follow its home country rules of corporate governance in lieu of the comparable Nasdaq requirements, except for certain matters such as composition and responsibilities of the audit committee and the independence of its members.  For further information, see “Item 16G – Corporate Governance.”
 
Independent Directors
 
Under the Israeli Companies Law, Israeli companies that have offered securities to the public in or outside of Israel are required to appoint at least two “outside” directors. Doron Nevo, Dr. Eyal Kishon and Osnat Ronen currently serve as our outside directors. Under the requirements for listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, a majority of our directors are required to be independent as defined by Nasdaq rules.  Doron Nevo, Dr. Eyal Kishon, Osnat Ronen and Joseph Tenne qualify as independent directors under the applicable Securities and Exchange Commission and Nasdaq rules.
 
To qualify as an outside director under Israeli law, an individual or his or her relatives, partners, employers or entities under the person's control may not have, and may not have had at any time during the previous two years, any affiliation, as such term is defined in the Companies Law, with the company or any entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with the company. In addition, no individual may serve as an outside director if the individual’s position or other activities create or may create a conflict of interest with his or her role as an outside director or are likely to interfere with his or her ability to serve as a director. For a period of two years from termination from office, a former outside director may not serve as a director or employee of the company or provide professional services to the company for consideration. Pursuant to the Israeli Companies Law, at least one of the outside directors appointed by a publicly-traded company must have “financial and accounting expertise.” The other outside directors are required to possess “financial and accounting expertise” or “professional expertise,” as these terms are defined in regulations promulgated under the Companies Law. Joseph Tenne is designated as the audit committee’s financial expert.
 
The outside directors must be elected by the shareholders, including at least one-third of the shares of non-controlling shareholders voted on the matter. However, the outside directors can be elected by shareholders without this one-third approval if the total shares of non-controlling shareholders voted against the election do not represent more than one percent of the voting rights in the company. The term of an outside director is three years and may be extended for additional three-year terms. An outside director can be removed from office only under very limited circumstances. All of the outside directors must serve on a company’s statutory audit committee and each other committee of a company’s board of directors is required to include at least one outside director. If, at the time an outside director is elected, all current members of the board of directors are of the same gender, then the elected outside director must be of the other gender.

 
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Pursuant to an amendment to the Israeli Companies Law, an Israeli company whose shares are publicly traded may elect to adopt a provision in its articles of association pursuant to which a majority of its board of directors will constitute individuals complying with certain independence criteria prescribed by the Israeli Companies Law.  We have not included such a provision in our articles of association since our board of directors complies with the independence requirements of the Nasdaq and Securities and Exchange Commission regulations described above.
 
Audit Committee
 
Under the Companies Law and the requirements for listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, our board of directors is required to appoint an audit committee. Our audit committee must be comprised of at least three directors, including all of the outside directors. The audit committee consists of: Dr. Eyal Kishon, Doron Nevo, Joseph Tenne and Osnat Ronen. Our board of directors has determined that Joseph Tenne is an “audit committee financial expert” and that all members of the Audit Committee are independent under the applicable Securities and Exchange Commission and Nasdaq rules.
 
The audit committee may not include the chairman of the board of directors, a controlling shareholder and the members of his immediate family, or any director who is employed by the company or provides services to the company on a regular basis. Under Israeli law, the role of the audit committee is to examine flaws in our business management, in consultation with the internal auditor and the independent accountants, and to propose remedial measures to the board. The audit committee also reviews for approval transactions between us and office holders or interested parties, as described below.
 
We have adopted an audit committee charter as required by Nasdaq rules. Our audit committee assists the board of directors in fulfilling its responsibility for oversight of the quality and integrity of our accounting, auditing and financial reporting practices and financial statements and the independence qualifications and performance of our independent auditors. The audit committee also has the authority and responsibility to oversee our independent auditors, to recommend for shareholder approval the appointment and, where appropriate, replacement of our independent auditors and to pre-approve audit fees and all permitted non-audit services and fees.
 
Nominating Committee
 
Nasdaq rules require that director nominees be selected or recommended for the board’s selection either by a committee composed solely of independent directors or by a majority of independent directors.  Our Nominating Committee assists the board of directors in its selection of individuals as nominees for election to the board of directors and/or to fill any vacancies or newly created directorships on the board of directors.  The Nominating Committee consists of Dr. Eyal Kishon, Doron Nevo, Joseph Tenne and Osnat Ronen.  All members of the Nominating Committee are independent under the applicable Nasdaq rules.

 
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Compensation Committee
 
Nasdaq rules also provide that the compensation of a company’s chief executive officer and other executive officers is required to be approved either by a majority of the independent directors on the board of directors or a committee comprised solely of independent directors. Our board of directors has appointed Dr. Eyal Kishon, Doron Nevo and Joseph Tenne to serve on our Compensation Committee of the board of directors. All members of the Compensation Committee are independent under the applicable Nasdaq rules.
 
Internal Auditor
 
Under the Companies Law, our board of directors is also required to appoint an internal auditor proposed by the audit committee. The internal auditor may be our employee, but may not be an interested party or office holder, or a relative of any interested party or office holder, and may not be a member of our independent accounting firm. The role of the internal auditor is to examine, among other things, whether our activities comply with the law and orderly business procedure. Brightman, Almagor Zohar & Co. (a member firm of Deloitte & Touche in Israel) was appointed as our internal auditor in November 2008. Previously, Eitan Hashachar CPA had been our internal auditor since January 2001.
 
Board Classes
 
Pursuant to our articles of association, our directors, other than our outside directors, are classified into three classes (classes I, II and III). The members of each class of directors and the expiration of the term of office is as follows:
 
Vacant
Class I
2010
Joseph Tenne
Class II
2011
Shabtai Adlersberg
Class III
2012
 
We currently do not have a Class I director.
 
Our outside directors under the Companies Law, Doron Nevo, Dr. Eyal Kishon and Osnat Ronen, are not members of any class and serve in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Law. Mr. Nevo’s term ends in 2012, Dr. Kishon’s term ends in 2011, and Ms. Ronen’s term ends in 2010.
 
D.
EMPLOYEES
 
We had the following number of employees as of December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the areas set forth in the table below:

 
83

 
 
   
As of December 31,
 
   
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
Research and development
    296       249       248  
Sales & marketing, technical service & support
    249       209       201  
Operations
    99       92       88  
Management and administration
    44       45       41  
      688       595       578  
 
Our employees were located in the following areas as of December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
 
   
As of December 31,
 
   
2007
   
2008
   
2009
 
Israel
    425       382       384  
United States
    197       151       125  
Europe
    29       27       26  
Far East
    31       28       36  
Latin America
    6       7       7  
      688       595       578  
 
The decrease in the number of employees in 2008 and 2009 was primarily attributable to our cost reduction plans implemented in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, salary reduction measures were taken with respect to our employees worldwide.
 
Israeli labor laws and regulations are applicable to our employees in Israel. These laws principally concern matters such as paid annual vacation, paid sick days, length of the workday, pay for overtime, insurance for work-related accidents, severance pay and other conditions of employment. Israeli law generally requires severance pay, which may be funded by Manager’s Insurance, described below, upon the retirement or death of an employee or termination of employment without cause (as defined under Israeli law). Furthermore, Israeli employees and employers are required to pay predetermined sums to the National Insurance Institute, which include payments for national health insurance. The payments to the National Insurance Institute currently range from approximately 5% to 17% of wages up to specified wage levels, of which the employee contributes approximately 65% and the employer contributes approximately 35%.
 
Our employees are subject to certain provisions of the collective bargaining agreements between the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and the Coordination Bureau of Economic Organizations (including the Industrialists Associations) by order of the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor. These provisions principally concern cost of living increases, recreation pay and other conditions of employment. We generally provide our employees with benefits and working conditions above the required minimums. Our employees, as a group, are not currently represented by a labor union. To date, we have not experienced any work stoppages.

 
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Pursuant to an order issued in December 2007 by the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, new provisions relating to pension arrangements in the collective bargaining agreements between the Histadrut and the Coordination Bureau of Economic Organizations will apply to all employees in Israel, including our employees in Israel. We regularly contribute to a “Manager’s Insurance Fund” or to a privately managed pension fund on behalf of our employees located in Israel. These funds provide employees with a lump sum payment upon retirement (or a pension, in case of a pension fund) and severance pay, if legally entitled thereto, upon termination of employment. We provide for payments to a Manager’s Insurance Fund and pension fund contributions in the amount of 13.3% of an employee’s salary on account of severance pay and provident payment or pension, with the employee contributing 5.0% of his salary. We also pay an additional amount of up to 2.5% of certain of our employees’ salaries in connection with disability payments. In addition, we administer an Education Fund for our Israeli employees and pay 7.5% of these employees’ salaries thereto, with the employees contributing 2.5% of their salary.
 
 
E.
SHARE OWNERSHIP
 
The following table sets forth the share ownership and outstanding number of options of our directors and officers as of June 15, 2010.
 
Name
 
Total Shares
Beneficially
Owned
   
Percentage of
Ordinary Shares
   
Number of
Options
 
Shabtai Adlersberg
    5,572,576       13.8 %     277,514  
                         
Eyal Frishberg
    *               *  
Eli Nir
    *               *  
Lior Aldema
    *               *  
Yehuda Hershkovici
    *               *  
Tal Dor
    *               *  
Gary Drutin
    *               *  
Jeff Kahn
    *               *  
Joseph Tenne
    *               *  
Dr. Eyal Kishon
    *               *  
Doron Nevo
    *               *  
Osnat Ronen
    *               *  
                         
*Less than one percent.
                       

Our officers and directors have the same voting rights as our other shareholders.

 
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The following tables sets forth information with respect to the options to purchase our ordinary shares held by Mr. Adlersberg as of June 15, 2010. In addition, on December 14, 2009, we granted to Mr. Adlersberg restricted share units that will enable him to receive 40,269 of our ordinary shares subject to his continuing service to us. These shares vest quarterly over a four-year period from the date of grant. As of June 15, 2010, 5,031 of these shares had vested.
 
Number of
Options
Grant Date
 
Exercise
Price
   
Exercised
   
Cancelled
 
Vesting
Expiration Date
                               
275,000
September 23, 2004
  $ 12.84       -       -  
5 years
September 23, 2011
120,808
December 14, 2009
  $ 2.57       -       -