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New group to push network applications

A new effort to move the market for providing software over a network will soon gain some momentum from a group of industry leaders.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada--A new effort to move the market for providing software over a network will soon gain some momentum from a group of industry leaders.

The new group, to be unveiled tomorrow at Networld+Interop--the largest networking summit of the year--includes computing industry giants like Cisco Systems, IBM, AT&T, and Sun Microsystems, among others, according to sources familiar with the organization's plans.

The initiative--called the ASP Industry Consortium--is targeted at so-called application service providers, a niche market comprised of telecommunications carriers that offer outsourced technology services, such as email for corporations, sources said.

According to a position paper obtained by CNET News.com, "the two-fold mission of the ASP Industry Consortium is to educate the market worldwide about the benefits of the ASP industry, and to position the ASP industry within a broader IT perspective.

"To accomplish these goals, the ASP Industry Consortium will provide common definitions for the industry, serve as a forum for discussion of issues, sponsor industry research, and establish interoperability guidelines, among other activities," the paper says.

The first meeting of the group is scheduled this month.

The new organization may add momentum to a trend espoused by the likes of Sun and Cisco, two companies among many that could benefit from a centralized approach to application deployment via increased sales of their network-based computing equipment.

Cisco has already launched an effort to jump-start the centralized application software delivery industry and Sun has also made its own moves.

Other founding members include GTE, Compaq Computer, UUNet, Verio, and Citrix Systems.