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Symbol, IBM Partner on Wireless Computing

Symbol Technologies Inc. said Monday that it has formed an alliance with IBM Corp. to design, implement and provide comprehensive mobile computing systems using wireless local area networking (LAN), wireless wide area networking (WAN) and wireless personal area networking (PAN).

In a press statement, Symbol said its alliance with IBM will concentrate its marketing efforts on industries that can most obviously benefit from wireless automation, including field services, consumer goods delivery operations, logistics supply chain, postal and package forwarding and security.

Similar to IBM's mobile office deal announced at Comdex with Cisco Systems, the Symbol deal is consistent with IBM's previously stated strategy to aggressively roll out commercial wireless services over the next few years. IBM has invested over $1 billion in the wireless communications marketplace since July 2000 and has 6,000 people worldwide trained on how to deploy WLAN. That figure is projected to grow to 10,000 people by next year.

"The intent of this agreement is to proliferate mobile and wireless applications on a large scale and enterprise level," said Tomo Razmilovic, president and chief executive officer, Symbol Technologies. "By combining our core strengths in products, technologies and services, the Symbol/IBM alliance will provide a level of capabilities our customers have not seen before in the IT industry. This alliance opens doors to numerous new opportunities."

Utilizing technology such as RF ID tags or smart cards, the relationship leverages Symbol's bar code scanning and wireless mobile computing technologies with IBM's global reach, extensive resources, expertise in deploying large scale e-business services.

"Wireless mobility applications within these kind of vertical enterprises continue to dominate Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless LAN adoption worldwide. Customers are finding definitive ROI from the combined deployment of standard-based, wireless technology and ubiquitous mobile computing platforms," said Sarah Kim, analyst, Mobile/Wireless, Yankee Group.