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MS, HP, Intel and Nortel to forge telecoms alliance

That old voice and data convergence thang, it would appear

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Northern Telecom is expected to announce today a telecoms alliance with HP, Intel and Microsoft. The collaboration is to make it possible for small and medium sized businesses to be able to combine voice and data. There is nothing especially novel about this, except for the market power of the partners to the deal. Cisco's acquisition of Selsius last year made this possible, although the new relationship raises questions about the continuing seriousness of the Cisco-Microsoft collaboration. Other competitors include Lucent and 3Com (who recently purchased NBX). The deal was put together by Nortel, who wanted to build routers, switches and servers. The plan is to use Intel's Pentium, and Windows 2000, which may mean some thawing of the currently frosty relationship between the former Wintel partners. Intel has become progressively more hostile to Microsoft's NT-centric view of networking, particularly with respect to the embedded/communications markets, where bloatware and high per seat licence fees don't play well. So if - as seems likely - the announcement will stray into this territory via embedded NT/Win2k, we should look for further liberalisation of Microsoft's licensing policies. HP will bring a lot of NT and network infrastructure experience to the party. The company is committed to NT as the future networking standard for the enterprise, and has progressively been embedding management and traffic control functionality in its own hubs and switches. This makes it a potentially valuable partner for Intel and Nortel, in particular. ®

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