REDMOND, Wash., and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 19, 1999 — The prospect of combining data, voice and video into highly sophisticated computer applications took a step forward this week, thanks to an alliance announced by Microsoft Corp. and 3Com Corp.
The two industry leaders announced they will work together to accelerate the deployment of “converged networks” or networks that carry voice, video and text over a single infrastructure. Microsoft and 3Com, which already work together on a number of initiatives, said they will step up their efforts to share technology and develop and market solutions that take advantage of simpler, faster and smarter computer networks.
“Customers require innovation and cost-savings from their communication networks, and we’re committed to make Windows the best software platform to enable network convergence,” said Paul Maritz, Microsoft’s group vice president for Platforms and Applications. “We’re very excited about the 3Com-Microsoft alliance, and our expanded relationship with 3Com. 3Com’s product breadth, network infrastructure expertise and market presence complements Microsoft’s, and we believe our mutual customers will benefit from our joint efforts.”
Traditionally, organizations have been forced to use separate networks to carry different types of data such as text and graphics, voice and video. Recently, however, the combination of open, standards-based platforms and high-bandwidth networking solutions has enabled organizations to carry these different types of data over a common network.
Network convergence is expected to save companies money by eliminating the need for information technology (IT) managers to maintain separate infrastructures for networks that carry text, voice and video data. It will also open up new opportunities for customers by enabling them to working with applications that combine voice, video and text. For example, network convergence enables corporations to reduce training costs by providing corporate training videos to employees over the company intranet. It also enables companies to gather information more quickly when responding to customer phone calls. And it allows educational institutions to offer more rewarding distance learning opportunities for students.
Approximately half of all PCs worldwide connect to networks using a combination of 3Com and Microsoft products. By working together, the companies plan to deliver innovative network solutions to Internet service providers as well as small, medium and large businesses. Customers will begin to see the results of the alliance this spring as the companies develop new products and open interfaces that advance the role of Windows as a platform for converged networking.
To support the alliance, 3Com will open a development center near the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. Engineers at the 25,000-square-foot facility test joint products for compatibility. They will also develop high-quality, reliable products and make them available as quickly as possible.