The three companies have teamed up to deliver an integrated suite of services for the newly released Microsoft Exchange messaging server so that Exchange can run over corporate intranets.
The services will include high-speed access to the Internet, email, and groupware by bundling Microsoft's Windows NT Server operating system, its Internet Information Server Web server and Digital's client-server products and services including its Alpha architecture platform. The ensemble will be marketed by MCI through its recently announced Enterprise Network Solutions.
The alliance of the three mega-companies reflects a urgent push to get into a market that will have 4.5 million intranet servers running by the year 2000, according to a recent study from International Data Corporation.
An intranet is an internal corporate network that runs over Internet networking instead of proprietary networks. They appeal to corporate network managers because they are usually cheaper and easier to set up than other networks but let authorized users share confidential information when protected by security software called firewalls. About 75,000 intranet servers are now in operation, according to the IDC study.
The products, now in beta testing, are expected to be available by the end of the summer, said Bert Roberts, MCI chairman and CEO.
Neither prices nor financial terms of the non-exclusive deal were disclosed. "We don't feel we need an exclusive deal, but that won't take away from the strength of this alliance," Roberts said.
Still, corporate customers can expect future announcements from the alliance, Roberts said. "Our intranet and new messaging services are just the first to come out of this alliance," he said.
Digital Equipment is working on advanced security technology and plans to focus on delivering products for intranet commerce. The company sold more than $100 million of products through its intranet last year, according to Robert Palmer, chairman and CEO of Digital.