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IBM teams with Nortel, Redback on services

Big Blue announces it is packaging its e-business technology with telecommunications equipment from Nortel Networks and Redback Networks.

    IBM on Monday announced it is packaging its e-business technology with telecommunications equipment from Nortel Networks and Redback Networks to offer people new Net-based services.

    The alliances, announced at the SuperComm telecommunications trade show in Atlanta, are targeted at giving telecommunications service providers the technology they need to offer new services to their business customers.

    The IBM and Nortel partnership brings together IBM's Internet infrastructure software and hardware with Nortel's optical equipment for building networks in metropolitan areas. IBM competes with Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and others in the market for e-business software, while Nortel competes against Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies in the market for metropolitan networks.

    Executives from IBM and Nortel say they have integrated their products together so service providers can offer new services to their business customers to generate new revenue. The deals include hosting services, such as storing corporate data or renting software over the Web.

    The IBM and Nortel partnership also brings technology that allows service providers to offer better security, including virtual private networks, which are inexpensive and secure high-speed connections to corporate networks over the Internet. The two companies' combined technology will also allow businesses to offer different levels of service to customers, said Jan Jackman, an IBM vice president of strategy.

    For example, business customers can ensure that their e-commerce transactions or phone calls over the Net have priority for network bandwidth over less important needs, such as e-mail or Web surfing.

    "You want to offer different prices for different needs--a $50 million Web transaction will be handled differently than two teenagers chatting over the Web," Jackman said.

    Products in the partnership include IBM's WebSphere Application Server, software that runs e-commerce and other Web transactions--as well as high-end IBM computers. Nortel's product includes its family of optical equipment for metropolitan networks, as well as its Alteon Web switch, technology that speeds delivery of Web content to people's computers.

    Redback partnership
    Similarly, IBM has partnered with broadband access equipment maker Redback to give new Net-based services to consumers and businesses of all sizes.

    Redback builds networking equipment that allows service providers to offer digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable access to customers.

    Together, the two companies' products will allow service providers to offer new services, such as games people can rent over the Web, e-mail, Web hosting and virus-scanning security software for small businesses, Jackman said. Large businesses can offer bigger applications, such as customer relationship management software, which manages a company's sales force, marketing efforts and customer service needs.

    The alliance includes portal software from IBM subsidiary Tivoli, which will allow service providers to develop Web sites that allow its customers to order and manage the services they want, Jackman said.

    More at SuperComm
    In other SuperComm news, Nortel on Monday unveiled its new "photonic" switch that it acquired last June when it bought start-up Xros for $3.25 billion in stock. The new piece of optical equipment will allow data to be transported entirely in the form of light. The product, called the Optera Connect PX switch, will be available later this year, company executives said.

    Nortel also announced it has continued to work with Juniper Networks to make their products compatible. Nortel resells Juniper's Internet router, technology that ships Net traffic from point to point at high speeds. Nortel also showed off technology that bundles Nortel's equipment with EMC's storage hardware, allowing companies to store data over a network.

    In other Nortel news, Nortel Chief Executive John Roth told Reuters Monday that the company is delaying the spinoff of its fiber-optic components unit because the economic outlook remains cloudy.

    Roth said the company will look at a potential initial public offering again in six months.

    Reuters contributed to this report.