Alcatel buys conferencing software developer eDial

French telecommunications equipment specialist Alcatel has acquired a U.S. manufacturer of conferencing and collaboration products, eDial, Alcatel said Friday.

With a portfolio including applications for voice, data and video conferencing based on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), and a real-time collaboration system combining instant messaging, application sharing and presence notification, eDial is a good fit for Alcatel's range of communications applications for business, Alcatel said. The acquisition will allow Alcatel to add new capabilities to its Omnitouch Unified Communication conferencing application, My Teamwork, the Paris-based company said.

Alcatel paid about US$27 million in stock and cash for the privately held eDial, it said.

The sales, support and development staff of around 30 will remain at eDial's office in Waltham, Massachusetts, Alcatel said.

Also on Friday, Alcatel announced plans to acquire Spatial Communications Technologies (Spatial Wireless), a U.S. supplier of packet-switching software for cellular networks, for $250 million in shares. It expects the deal to close by the end of the year, subject to the approval of stockholders and regulators.

Spatial Wireless's software-based multimedia switching system fits into the network architectures of all the major digital wireless systems, and can be easily upgraded to support 3G (third-generation) wireless networks, prolonging the life of products incorporating it, Alcatel said.

Alcatel already has a close relationship with Spatial Wireless, a privately held company of 225 employees based in Richardson, Texas: the two signed a co-distribution deal for the North American market in March.

With its bid for Spatial, Alcatel is following a path already trodden in its acquisition of Watercove Networks of Boston. Alcatel signed a deal in July 2003 to distribute Watercove's gateway software in its equipment for second-generation mobile data networks, and then bought the company in January.

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