SAN MATEO (04/03/2000) - AT&T Corp. announced late last week that it plans to lead a group of companies in acquiring a 39 percent stake in Net2Phone, a provider of Internet telephony and Web-based communications services. AT&T plans to invest $725 million for a 51 percent interest in the consortium. Other partners, including Liberty Media and British Telecommunications, are expected to purchase the remaining partnership interest, AT&T officials said. The terms of the agreement include an option to let the consortium increase its stake in Net2Phone, AT&T officials added. AT&T claims the investment will help it develop voice-enhanced, Web-based communications services, with the goal of making computers, telephones, Web pages, and fax machines extensions of each other. AT&T and Net2Phone plan to jointly develop new Internet voice applications for cable telephony and the business communications market.
MCI WorldCom readies e-mail service
MCI WorldCom and outsourcer Critical Path will team up this week to unveil MCI WorldCom Managed E-mail, a set of hosted e-mail solutions including Internet e-mail and Microsoft Exchange with options for spam control, content filtering, and virus scans. Critical Path will help MCI provide hosted mailboxes and integrate internal mail servers, and the Managed E-mail service will also work with UUNet Internet and SkyTel wireless divisions.
FCC approves wireless mergers
The Federal Communications Commission last week gave approval to two mergers that could significantly alter the cellular and wireless communications industry landscape. The FCC approved a Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch wireless joint venture to combine the companies' U.S. cellular, paging, and PCS businesses. The venture will result in the formation of a new company capable of providing wireless communications to most major U.S. wireless markets. The FCC also approved the merger of VoiceStream Wireless, which provides communications services using GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) technology standard, and Aerial Communications, a provider of PCS service using GSM technology.
Novell demos network storage platform
Novell Chief Scientist Drew Major late last week at Novell's BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, demonstrated the company's upcoming network-attached storage device software, which is now in a beta release and due for shipment this summer. The software provides NetWare-friendly network file-sharing and storage but will work with other software environments as well, such as Microsoft's Active Directory. It is designed to be equipped in appliances built by computer hardware vendors. The software supports NFS (Network File System), CIFS (Common Internet File System), and HTTP. Major also demonstrated a QuickTime streaming video capability to be included in Version 2.0 of Novell's Internet Caching System software.
IBM debuts Palm-based management
IBM has announced SNAPP (System Networking, Analysis, and Performance Pilot), an application that allows customers to configure and manage an RS/6000 server from the Palm Computing platform. Users download SNAPP at www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/snapp to either the Palm III, Palm V, Palm VIII, or IBM WorkPad. The Palm is then docked with the server.