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Andersen plugs into wireless start-up

Sinking its teeth deeper into the wireless Web, the management consulting company makes an equity stake in upstart wireless-technology provider Everypath.

    Sinking its teeth deeper into the burgeoning wireless Web market, Andersen Consulting today said it has partnered with wireless-technology provider Everypath and made an equity stake in the upstart.

    Under the agreement, the New York-based management consulting company will help in the marketing and installation of Everypath's wireless technology among businesses that want to deliver Internet content and enterprise applications to any type of wireless device.

    Founded two years ago, Everypath has a patent-pending technology that it says can universally translate existing database and Internet content to a wide range of devices and Internet appliances including cell phones, wireless Internet phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), pagers, interactive TV sets and set-top boxes.

    Andersen Consulting did not disclose the terms of the investment, which it made through its venture capital unit, AC Ventures.

    Like other consulting and professional-services companies, including Razorfish, IBM Global Services, Electronic Data Systems and MarchFirst, Andersen Consulting has been moving aggressively to stake its claims in the emerging wireless market.

    A number of smaller Internet consulting firms and old-line consultancies have already expanded into Europe, where wireless use is much more prevalent. Though businesses in the United States are still mulling their wireless strategies, Andersen Consulting and others in the market have established wireless practices to address the growing demand and help clients develop their wireless strategies.

    Market researcher The Yankee Group predicts there will be more than 1 billion mobile phone owners by 2003, with about 60 percent of their phones being Internet-ready.

    Andersen Consulting has Wireless takes center stagesteadily made investments in start-ups and other companies it believes own "breakthrough" technology. During the past year, its AC Ventures unit has invested in companies including marketing automation-software maker PrimeResponse, Net marketplace ChemConnect and e-commerce software maker Blue Martini.

    Andersen Consulting will work with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Everypath to market its products to global businesses and dot-com start-ups. It will also integrate the Everypath technology into a suite of mobile enterprise products offered to its clients.

    Everypath has about 180 employees, with offices in India, Germany and England. The company said it has more than 50 clients and partnerships, such as online broker E*Trade, wireless giant Ericsson, computer maker Hewlett-Packard, business-to-business software maker iPlanet and online drugstore PlanetRx.