Microsoft and 3Com Team to Deliver Converged Networking

SANTA CLARA, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 19, 1999 — 3Com Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today announced the 3Com-Microsoft alliance, a strategic relationship intended to accelerate deployment of a new generation of converged networks – easy-to-use networks that carry data, voice and video. The cooperative efforts will simplify and enrich the user networking experience on client and server computers and other devices for business and personal use. The efforts will further integrate the Microsoft® Windows® operating system within 3Com’s product line, especially for value-added network services.

The two industry leaders, already collaborating on a number of initiatives, are stepping up technology sharing, development cooperation and cooperative marketing efforts to better enable organizations and individuals to take advantage of simpler, faster and smarter networks. Alliance activities will help each company deliver networking products for consumers, carriers, and small, medium-sized and large enterprises.

To support the alliance, 3Com will open a development center near the Microsoft campus in Redmond to ensure product quality and reliability, to bring products to market as quickly as possible, and to support cooperative product development. The development center will test and verify compatibility and interoperability between integrated 3Com and Microsoft products.

“Customers require innovation and cost-savings from their communications networks, and we’re committed to making Windows the best software platform to enable network convergence,”
said Paul Maritz, group vice president, platforms and applications, Microsoft Corp.
“We’re very excited about the 3Com-Microsoft alliance, 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.”

“3Com offers converged network solutions today that connect people with one another and with information, and many of these solutions have been based on Windows,”
said Eric Benhamou, chairman and CEO at 3Com Corp.
“Working with Microsoft more closely will accelerate this innovation on an open platform that other companies can build on. We have a shared vision of intelligent networks that are easier to manage, easier to use and more affordable.”

Alliance Builds on Success to Deliver New Solutions for All Customer Segments

Microsoft and 3Com’s new converged networking cooperation will benefit a broad range of customers and is based on a positive track record of joint development and marketing work.

  • For public carriers and service providers , 3Com’s Total Control
    ™carrier-class architecture systems use the Windows NT® operating system as an open, extensible software platform for IP telephony, digital wireless data, cable head-end systems and application-enhanced remote access solutions. As part of the alliance, 3Com will migrate these products to the forthcoming Microsoft Windows NT Embedded operating system. In addition, the companies are exploring the migration of these and other products, such as end-to-end cable solutions, to Windows 2000 Server.

  • For enterprise organizations , 3Com will embed Windows 2000 Server in its highest-performance, most reliable LAN switch, the 3Com CoreBuilder® 9000. The switch will use Transcend® Policy Manager and Server and the Active Directory Service in Windows 2000 Server to enforce policy for configuration, quality of service, security, monitoring and operation. This work will further extend Windows into the core of enterprise networks on 3Com products and will support the transition to highly reliable, scalable, policy-based enterprise networks capable of supporting real-time voice, data and streaming audio and video. The companies also are exploring the use of Windows technology within other 3Com LAN and WAN product lines, including the SuperStack® II product line.

  • For enterprise PC users and network administrators , the companies have collaborated on performance and desktop management enhancements that will be supported in Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server. This includes providing the ability for client and server network interface cards to perform hardware acceleration for standard TCP/IP processing and Internet protocol security (IPSEC) encryption. This will reduce the burdens on a PC or server processor for better performance. The offload interface will be published in the Windows Device Driver Kit.

  • For consumers , the companies are collaborating on home LAN and broadband access solutions. 3Com also will package cable-ready Microsoft software titles with 3Com’s cable and DSL modems. These solutions will start to become available in the first half of this year and are expected to pave the way for new forms of entertainment, information access and education. These companies are also collaborating on Universal Plug-and-Play.

The companies are engaged in joint marketing activities and will expand into other cooperative customer segment and channel development efforts. Current activities include packaged hardware and software solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. Future activities will include joint marketing of streaming media solutions.

Network Convergence, the Customer Value

Until recently, organizations had to use different networks to support different types of services. Networks are now becoming more intelligent, flexible and cost-effective, enabling a variety of services to be supported on a common infrastructure. This change is due, in part, to the increasing use of open, standards-based platforms and the availability of intelligent, high-bandwidth networking solutions. The companies are working to integrate Microsoft’s operating systems with 3Com’s advanced networking hardware to build more distributed intelligence into higher-performance, converged networks.

“This alliance has the potential to dramatically accelerate the flow of customer benefits from network convergence, leveraging the central role of Microsoft’s open PC and server software platforms and 3Com’s intelligent networking products,”
said Berge Ayvazian, executive vice president of the Yankee Group.
“By combining product development, marketing and innovative applications development efforts across multiple market segments, the 3Com-Microsoft alliance can have an almost immediate impact on key areas such as IP digital telephony, streaming multimedia, broadband Internet services, home area networking, and directory-enabled enterprise networks.”

To accelerate the deployment of these new, converged networks, 3Com and Microsoft will launch a worldwide seminar program, available at no cost to customers and resellers, to explain the vision and benefits of converged networks. Seminar attendees will receive planning information and promotional pricing on applicable products to jump-start the initiative. For seminar locations and registration information and to learn more about Windows as a multipurpose operating system for communications, visit http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/commserv/default.asp . To learn more about converged networks, see http://www.3com.com/technology/tech_net/white_papers/500671.html .

About 3Com Corp.

With more than 200 million customers worldwide, 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq
“COMS”
) connects more people to information in more ways than any other networking company. 3Com delivers innovative information access products and network system solutions to large, medium and small enterprises; carriers and network service providers; PC OEMs; and consumers. 3Com – More connected
™
. For further information, visit 3Com’s World Wide Web site at http://www.3com.com/ or the press site at http://www.3com.com/pressbox/ .

About Microsoft Corp.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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3Com, CoreBuilder, Transcend and SuperStack are registered trademarks and Total Control and More connected are trademarks of 3Com Corp.

Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Additional information on the 3Com-Microsoft alliance is available at http://www.3com.com/microsoft .

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