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PictureTel jumps on Microsoft deal

PictureTel Corp.(Nasdaq: PCTL) rose 43 percent Monday on news it has licensed its IDEC-II conferencing technologies to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Shares were up 1 3/8 to 4 9/16. The stock also got a boost recently from a deal with IBM (NYSE: IBM). PictureTel shares have been down for awhile. PictureTel's status on Wall Street has been so low that FS Van Kasper upgraded the stock to a "hold" from a "sell" on the Microsoft news.

By combining PictureTel's IDEC-II audio technology with the Microsoft DirectSound architecture, Windows users will be able to converse naturally without speakerphones.

Under the agreement, PictureTel will license its IDEC-II technology, along with the IDEC-II components to third parties to enable integration of this capability into other products, such as soundcards, VoIP devices, wireless telephones, and other multimedia devices.

"We are committed to enabling Windows as a high-performance telephony client,'' said Harish Naidu, general manager of Microsoft's Digital Media Division.

PictureTel's patent portfolio includes a range of audio, video, and data collaboration technologies. The company's top competitors include Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) and Vtel (Nasdaq: VTEL), according to Hoover's Online.