Business briefs:

Oakton Computing has won the support of Microsoft, Intel and Dell Computer for its plan to set up a solution centre in Melbourne where corporate and government organisations will be able to conduct proof-of-concept, scalability and performance testing of applications. The centre, due to open next month, will be housed and operated by Oakton with Microsoft, Intel and Dell providing hardware, software, marketing expertise and technical support.

Queensland government business CITEC has agreed to work with broadband network provider Uecomm to find business opportunities by combining their respective areas of expertise. A spokesman said combined services offerings could include server management, bureau and hosting services, ASP hosting of finance applications, Internet services and help desk support.

Electronic catalogue developer Infomedia has launched Internet-based versions of its Microcat product in the US. Richard Graham, CEO of Infomedia, said one of the two new versions of Microcat is intended to provide motor vehicle dealers with a "personal portal" containing information from multiple sources. "Dealers will welcome these systems with open arms when they realise how they give them the ability to develop e-commerce that completely excludes middlemen feeding them only the information they want them to see," Graham explained.

Western Australian company ITSP has agreed to work with Canadian company Orbit Canada to complete a voice-over-IP network linking Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney. The network will be based on Orbit's VoIP software and equipment and, under the terms of the deal, the Canadian company will take a 10 per cent stake in ITSP. The network is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

Details of the major bids for Cable & Wireless have begun to leak out following Optus's acknowledgement this week that it had received concrete offers. While speculation had involved Telecom New Zealand, Singapore Telecom and Vodafone, details have just emerged that Hutchison Telecom is also involved. In a highly conditional deal Hutchison has agreed to take one million customers from Vodafone if the British company wins a bid to buy Optus' mobile assets. The deal is an attempt to make an acquisition more palatable to government regulatory bodies.