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Nortel's HP, MS and Intel alliance short on detail

Still no slideware? Talk about Digital Nervous Systems for a bit then, Bill

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Although the Nortel-Intel-HP-Microsoft consortium said it would take voice and data communications "off the drawing board and into businesses", the only evidence at yesterday's announcement was that the four have agreed to work together in some loose fashion. It would seem that the Sun/Lucent alliance has provided an impetus for the consortium. Two new products were announced by Nortel and HP: a business communications server (with NT and Pentium of course), and a business messaging server. The announcements were not fleshed out with prices or a shipping dates more precise than "mid-1999," but two development assistance centres have been set up, in Santa Clara, California and Brampton, Ontario. For HP, accused of "Big hat. No cattle" following its split into two companies, perhaps there are some opportunities, but the giant still lacks any decent software capability of its own to keep it independent of these sorts of ventures. Gates arrived by satellite and did his "building the digital nervous system" number, which is a sure sign of no product and not even any slideware yet. It seems that the chums have agreed to use an embedded version of Windows in the communications servers. The evident failure of the video news conference did not bode well for the new venture. Microsoft was cheeky enough to claim that the "open systems" effort would expand "Microsoft's active role in transactioning the communications industry from closed or proprietary platforms to open platforms such as Windows NT Server". Does that mean we're all saved? ®

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