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BEA To Target Telcos With 'Da Vinci' Code

BEA Systems is expected to cozy up to one of its oldest and most trusted customer bases Monday with the release of a suite of software products for the telecommunications industry.

The effort, code-named Project Da Vinci, began late last year.

Sources familiar with the company said BEA is likely to release a version of WebLogic application server that features support for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) .

SIP is a protocol created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for initiating an interactive user session that involves video, voice, chat, or gaming.

BEA declined to provide comment. But analysts and competitors weighed in on the application server leader's reaffirmation of its love for telcos.

IBM spokesman Steve Eisenstadt said IBM is not surprised about BEA's focus, noting that telecommunications is one of the 12 vertical industries the company pledged to address. He also noted that IBM has had a version of WebSphere tailored for telcos since 2002.

Meta Group analyst Daniel Sholler noted that because VoIP involves managing IP traffic, and because there are already devices that are very good at doing this, many of the VoIP systems were likely built on general purpose hardware. This means that the primary cost of delivering VoIP is the software that runs the services.

"I [would] speculate that BEA is trying to position themselves as the app server that has built in capabilities that make it easier for VoIP providers to create and customize their services," said Sholler. "There are likely to be other things in the bundle' that are specific to the demands of this kind of application... for example, improvements to clustering to insure availability at peak loads, etc."

BEA, which derived nearly a quarter of its 2004 revenues from telcos, has some experience in providing software for carriers.

BEA's first telco product, Tuxedo, remains the e-commerce middleware of choice for many service providers. Last month, BEA bought Incomit, a privately held maker of infrastructure software for telecommunications businesses.

That purchase helps fill out the company's telco portfolio as it seeks to compete with IBM, which also looks for placement among telcos with WebSphere. BEA also competes with Sun Microsystems, Oracle and open source purveyor JBoss in the application server space, where speedy, reliable run times are used to judge the quality of the software.



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