RealTime IT News

Liberate Draws More Star Power

Cisco Systems Inc. Monday made a rare step out of the networking world, taking a $100 million stake in Liberate Technologies.

Cisco will pick up a 3.88 percent stake in Liberate, which specializes in the delivery of digital television content. The networking giant will also strengthen product, marketing and sales ties with Liberate.

The companies will co-sell set-top boxes, game players, thin clients and mobile wireless devices to network operators around the world, reducing time to market and enabling both companies to deliver open standards for digital television.

Cisco's core broadband offering will be integrated with the Liberate TV Platform software, which consists of the Liberate TV Navigator client software, and the Liberate Connect server software. The combined architecture will include Cisco directory services, and DOCSIS and network software stacks.

The deal makes Cisco the third-largest investor in Liberate, joining other Liberate investors such as America Online Inc., Hambrecht & Quist and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Cisco is a member of Liberate's PopTV program, which addresses the needs of key players in the interactive TV market. These include hardware developers porting the Liberate software platform to a variety of set-top boxes and infrastructure partners who provide technology integration.

Anticpating the growing demand for the delivery of faster services over broadband networks to grow, Cisco and Liberate aim to extend IP-based services to emerging consumer devices and networks.

Last week, Cisco inked a deal with Oracle Corp. . Cisco will bundle Oracle 11i, the database software giant's latest suite of Web-based business management applications, with Cisco's voice-over IP capabilities and customer call center software.