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Sun, Lucent combine software efforts

The companies will unveil plans to develop and market new software, once code-named Cozmo, that combines multiple types of messaging services.

Computer systems maker Sun Microsystems and telecommunications equipment firm Lucent Technologies later today will unveil plans to develop and market new software, once code-named Cozmo, that combines multiple types of messaging services, according to sources.

The operating system will essentially give users the ability to access their voice, fax, and electronic mail messages from anywhere using a single mailbox for all three types of communications, sources said. That is, electronic mail and faxes will be turned into voice mail and voice mail will be transformed into email automatically as part of a system often referred to as "unified messaging."

The software, based on Sun's Solaris operating system, is intended to run on Sun servers hosted by telecommunications companies and Internet service providers. Those companies will in turn offer messaging services, accessible via the Web, to consumers and to corporate customers.

The cooperative development and sales effort builds on a partnership first announced in June. The software, based on technology from both firms, according to sources, will be available in the first quarter of next year, targeted at both wireless and traditional copper wire telephone carriers and ISPs.

A report released earlier this year predicted wide adoption by 2003 of unified messaging mailboxes that can be accessed from a single device.

Included in the joint effort is Sun's Unix-based Solaris operating system and accompanying Internet Mail Server software and a voice server from Lucent's Octel messaging division, sources said. The resulting product will also include text-to-speech technology from Bell Labs, Lucent's research and development arm.

The move furthers Sun's aim to boost its presence in the lucrative service provider niche beyond Web page serving. A Sun-sponsored conference being held this week in San Francisco is focused on issues surrounding ISP networks.

Lucent will sell the combined technology as part of an AnyMedia product line of solutions-oriented combinations for corporate and access provider customers.