Cisco invests $US100m in Liberate

Cisco Systems announced yesterday that it will invest $US100 million in interactive television software maker Liberate Technologies.

The companies, in a statement, said the investment will ensure that next-generation broadband devices and services are developed on open internet standards and deliver more choice to service providers and their customers. Liberate and Cisco will collaborate to sell and market technology to network operators.

Liberate offers client and server software that allows internet content to be accessed from appliances such as television set-top boxes and game consoles. The company changed its name from Network Computer (NCI) in May 1999. Oracle founded NCI, but it spun out from the Redwood Shores, California, database maker with an initial focus on developing specifications for Network Computers.

Cisco will receive a 3.88 per cent stake in San Carlos, California-based Liberate and further its product, marketing and sales relationship with Liberate, the statement said. This, moreover, makes Cisco the third-largest investor in Liberate, it said.

Liberate has agreed to join Cisco's New World Ecosystem program, which serves to assist service providers in deploying revenue-generating services to customers. Cisco's core broadband technology will be integrated with Liberate's TV Platform software and Liberate Connect server software, the companies said in the statement.

In early trading on Wall Street, Cisco was down $US.31 to $US67.94 a share, while Liberate was up $US2.38 to $US36.50 a share.

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