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Net telephony start-up gives Microsoft venture a voice

Start-up Shoreline Communications inks a deal to sell its Internet-based phone systems to Avanade, a joint venture between the software giant and Accenture.

    Start-up Shoreline Communications has inked a deal to sell its Internet-based phone systems to Avanade, a joint venture between software maker Microsoft and consulting firm Accenture.

    The deal could give Shoreline a significant boost. Avanade, which provides companies with Internet and consulting services using Microsoft software, has ordered Shoreline's technology for up to 3,000 employees for its 17 offices throughout the world, Shoreline representatives said. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

    Shoreline, which competes against bigger rivals such as 3Com, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, builds phone systems for businesses. The 4-year-old start-up offers a cheaper and easier alternative to traditional technology that routes phone calls.

    Shoreline's technology combines traditional voice technology with Internet routing--a less expensive option to traditional voice gear, called PBX systems.

    So far, Shoreline has installed the Net-based phone system in three Avanade offices, according to the company.

    Microsoft and Accenture, formerly named Andersen Consulting, formed the joint venture last March.