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Cisco, Alcatel cut two-year deal

Cisco is delivering on CEO John Chambers's vision of a world in which those who do not know how to work with competitors are left out of the game.

As part of a concerted partnership push, networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) announced an expanded relationship with telecommunications monolith Alcatel Telecom (ALA).

In the aftermath of recent cozy relationship announcements with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, it is clear that Cisco is delivering on CEO John Chambers's vision of a world in which those who do not know how to work with competitors are left out of the game.

Alcatel already is one of the largest resellers of Cisco gear in Europe. Now the French telecommunications firm and Cisco will jointly deliver complete network solutions based on Alcatel's public network switches and the San Jose, California-based router maker's IOS (Internetworking operating system) software in an agreement that extends over a two-year period.

Chambers said Cisco is looking "to accelerate the integration of the Internet and telecommunications," meaning that the company would like to add Alcatel's voice capabilities to its data-centric view of the world. The combination of the two should ease implementations of multiservice networks that can carry data over a wide variety of network transports, such as ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) or SONet (synchronous optical networking) technology.

Officials from both companies said there were 10 to 12 projects they hoped to develop over the next 24 months. Chambers said, if successful, the partnership would reap $500 million in annual revenue for each company by the year 2000.

Alcatel will also become one of the first formal partners in Cisco's effort to disseminate its Tag Switching proposal for IP-based networks across the industry.

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