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Akamai Teaming With Confidence

When it comes to partnerships, Akamai doesn't play favorites.

In the past year, the Cambridge, Mass., content delivery specialist has inked equipment, joint marketing deals or research and development pacts with some of the biggest names in the information technology industry including BEA Systems , Compaq , Genuity , Novell and Oracle .

Now it adds IBM to the list.

The two companies will collaborate on ways to use IBM's WebSphere e-infrastructure software to manage high-volume transactions and speed deployment of e-business applications via Akamai's global network. As part of the deal, Big Blue, based in Armonk, N.Y., will also offer Akamai's EdgeSuite services through its consulting arm.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"IBM and Akamai are enabling businesses to outsource critical infrastructure through a unified source for cost savings, significant performance increase, on-demand scalability and worldwide reach," said George Kurian, Akamai's vice president, of product marketing.

The project will take advantage of ESI, a new open markup language. The new standard applies to the creation and delivery of "dynamic" Web page elements that can be instantly updated and made specific to individual users -- the building blocks that enable, for instance, continually updated stock quotes or auction data.

IBM is slated have a beta version of ESI-enabled WebSphere software by early 2002.

"The dynamic nature of the content and applications puts a significant burden on network infrastructures that were only designed to handle static content," said Scott Hebner, an IBM spokesman. "By enabling WebSphere Edge Server to interoperate with Akamai's network, our offerings will address those needs."

Shares of AKAM rose 0.13, or 5 percent, to 2.78. In the last 52 weeks, the issue has ranged from 2.5 to 60. IBM's stock edged up 0.01 to 92.81. It has a 52-week range of 80.063 to 92.81.