Lucent, Compaq ink messaging bundling deal

Lucent Technologies will bundle its Octel Unified Messenger for Microsoft Exchange Server software with Compaq Computer servers to capitalise on a growing trend toward convergence of messaging applications.

Under the terms of an agreement between the two companies that was announced yesterday, Lucent's application will be bundled with Compaq's Intel-based ProLiant systems or on Compaq AlphaServers, to offer a single system providing e-mail, fax, and voice mail capabilities. Microsoft's Exchange will act as the messaging backbone.

Octel Unified Messenger combines voice, fax, and e-mail messages into a single mailbox, using a common directory.

The hardware-software combination, to be available in June from Compaq, Lucent, or their respective channels, will be offered to ISPs, carriers, common local exchange carriers, and corporate customers.

"Certainly, there's a trend toward convergence and this [arrangement] is certainly fitting into that trend," said Lucent's Vinnie Deschampes, general manager for unified messaging systems.

A user of Unified Messenger on a Compaq server said the integration should make it easier to install the software.

"Back when we installed, which was a year and a half ago, we were running on Compaq servers at the time, but there was no integration between the two. There was no partnership," between the companies, said Kelly Walls, vice president of IT at Royal Specialty Underwriting, an insurance company in Atlanta.

"This [arrangement] will add a lot of ease to installation," Walls said.

Although Royal Specialty did not have any particular problems installing the software on the Compaq server previously, having the two companies cooperate on this is reassuring, Walls said.

The arrangement between the two companies is not mutually exclusive, although the vendors currently do not have similar arrangements in unified messaging with other partners, representatives of the companies noted.

Pricing for the bundled products varies. For example, a Compaq ProLiant system with a Pentium II processor configured for 150 users running the application costs $US31,000.

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