3Com and Siemens team on voice data convergence
But what's this about 3Com Digital Phones, dear readers?
Siemens and 3Com have demonstrated that there is potential synergy between the two companies with the announcement of a joint venture focused on the development on a portfolio of voice and data telecoms/networks convergence products. The two have been allied for 18 months, and the new venture represents an extension of this. But not quite so far as the Siemens takeover that's been frequently rumoured this year. Siemens itself is going through another restructure, following its discovery that it wasn't doing as well as it thought it was, and that semis and cellphones were costing it a bundle. Right now the company could do without having to figure out what to do about 3Com. But the new venture does seem to represent a sensible merging of strengths. 3Com has been slow in getting into voice, whereas Siemens has a fairly advanced portfolio of products here, and has even started to push systems into the US small business market. The first collaborative products are due to ship next year, and will have a lot of Siemens technology in them. They'll include communications servers, digital phones, LAN telephony gateways and call processing software. The 3Com SuperStack II PBX 1000 will use 3Com SuperStack and Siemens Hicom PBX technology, so the merged product will basically be a combo LAN and PBX system in a stackable format. The two seem somewhat coy about another product line, the "3Com Digital Phones." Siemens has been trying to sell cordless phone systems in the US, so this is probably what they're talking about. But the company has also been substantially outpaced by Nokia and Ericsson in digital cellular sales (Nokia recently tanked Motorola again in the US in digital), so in the longer term you might figure a 3Com partnership here. 3Com, owner of the Palm Pilot, must surely be in the market for convergence wireless products based on it. Some form of implementation related to the Palm VII (3Com unveils Palm VII) would seem logical. Future developments will include scaling the stackable systems up, and the development of multimedia exchanges for large sites. Large scale multimedia exchanges and gateways are intended to be available by 2000. ®