Business Briefs

SAN MATEO (03/17/2000) - Intel Corp. last week made the latest in a string of networking-related acquisitions, announcing that it will buy Denmark-based communications chip design company Giga in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.25 billion. Giga will become a subsidiary of Intel, company officials said.

Giga is a semiconductor design company specializing in communications chips for use in optical networking products that, for example, are used to direct traffic across the Internet and corporate networks, Intel officials said. With the Giga acquisition, Intel said it is targeting the market for high-performance networking chips for the fiber-optic infrastructure that the company sees as a necessary foundation for future growth of the Internet.

In its second major acquisition in three months, Nortel Networks Corp. on Tuesday said it will buy California-based optical switch maker Xros in a stock deal worth $3.25 billion.

Nortel plans to combine its Qtera Ultra technology with Xros' silicon-based micro-mirror technology in a future all-optical network, Nortel officials said.

Silicon-based micro-mirror technology allows data to be switched through large-scale optical networks entirely in the form of light.

Nortel's aggressive record of acquisitions (it also announced plans to buy Promatory Communications in January) is part of the company's strategy to meet bandwidth demands, Nortel officials said. Nortel's carrier customers are interested in an all-optical network that will be able to deliver millions of instant Internet sessions, thousands of video channels, and large volumes of e-business transactions at high speeds, officials added.

Xros' switches are designed to operate at 10Gbps, today's standard, as well as at future optical speeds of 40Gbps and 80Gbps, according to Nortel. The company said it will introduce next year networks capable of delivering those future speeds.

Microsoft Corp. is taking an equity stake of approximately 20 percent in RealNames, and the two companies will jointly market projects in Web navigation and use of brand names and trademarks on the Internet.

Microsoft also has agreed to use the RealNames keyword approach to Internet searching in its online search function and Internet Explorer Web browser software, company officials said.

RealNames software allows Internet users to access Web sites by typing in only the name of a company or brand at the address line on their browsers, rather than the URL address. Companies buy the keywords as a means of driving traffic to their sites.

RealNames and Microsoft further said they are committed to an open standard for name allocation as well as to the preservation of trademark and brand names.

They are among the companies working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on a standard for Internet keyword navigation.

Financial terms of the equity stake that Microsoft has taken in RealNames were not provided.

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More about IETFIntelInternet Engineering Task ForceMicrosoftNortel NetworksPromatoryPromatory CommunicationsQteraRealNamesXros

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