Feeds

IBM scores development deal for France's Minitel 2

Which looks like it'll be the Internet with very French characteristics...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

An alliance between IBM and France Telecom announced today appears intent on pulling off an interesting double - strengthening IBM's position in the appliance/Network Computer arena while reinforcing France Telecom's on the hearts, minds and wallets of France's e-commerce friendly public.

The central paradox of the French online experience, you see is that via minitel the country was years ahead of the rest of the world. All over France people don't understand computers, but they're wired anyway, don't really grasp that they're wired, and use the systems like crazy. Minitel is a cheap, ubiquitous system used for chatting, dating, phone directores, buying insurance, all sorts of stuff that wannabe Internet commerce sites would give their eye-teeth to be able to do - profitably. Which is another point about Minitel. France Telecom takes revenue for it, and then redistributes this to what you might call the Minitel 'sites' - so why should they want to do the same on the Web, for free?

On the one hand France wants to embrace the Internet, on the other France Telecom and its business customers see their revenues vanishing. So the deal with IBM for Minitel 2 appears to have rather less of an Internet flavour than has so far been anticipated. It will use low-cost access devices, including screenphones, and it appears that it will be a more controlled (i.e. France Telecom controlled) network than one would expect from a standard Internet system.

It will however be a huge deal - Minitel worked because France Telecom made it ubiquitous, dishing out heavily subsidised terminals to its subscribers. That's a lot of client hardware, and a lot of servers to go with it. This doesn't mean the system can ignore the Web completely - France telecom understands that such a position is no longer tenable - but it should still be possible to build on current French assets and preserve, even grow, revenue rather than rip it all out and start again.

Whether this will play in other countries, as the partners anticipate, is another matter altogether. It will, they say, be based on open Internet standards, but it's difficult to see how the Minitel pricing model could operate in conjunction with these. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.