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Nortel Networks Launches E-Business Unit

To accommodate the increasing number of online marketplaces, Nortel Networks Tuesday launched a unit that will offer B2B applications to enterprises and service providers.

Called the Clarify E-Business Applications unit, it will help clients manage customer relationships and build virtual marketplaces. Nortel (NT) enlisted Andersen Consulting to deliver professional services to its clients.

Nortel said one of the functions of the new unit will be to decrease deployment time of virtual marketplaces and services by six minths. It will also offer real-time access to customer and inventory information via handheld wireless Internet devices.

The new entity combines the recent acquisitions of Clarify and Periphonics with Nortel Networks' own capabilities in contact centers. Nortel will integrate the company's contact center capabilities with Clarify's customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and Periphonics' advanced voice recognition.

Based in San Jose, Calif., the Clarify E-Business Applications unit will have 2,600 employees worldwide and includes such Fortune 500 customers as Charles Schwab Corp. (SCH) and Qwest Communications Inc. (QWST).

Tony Zingale will serve as president of the new unit.

"Nortel Networks is ushering in the second wave of e-business, which combines customer relationship management, contact centers, Web centers, and the high performance Internet," said F. William Conner, president, enterprise solutions, Nortel Networks.

The new segment launch comes in the wake of a number of deals this month by the Canadian optical Net firm, who bought optical component firm CoreTek last Tuesday for $1.43 billion and switch provider Xros two weeks ago for $3.25 billion.