Akamai, IBM Get Edgy

Seven months after signing a joint development pact, Akamai and IBM have unveiled a service to help large companies extend business applications to the Web.

The offering — built from Akamai’s EdgeSuite for Java and IBM’s WebSphere software — promises to improve the speed and reliability of programs for customers,
partners and suppliers.

It is currently in tests with mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson, among others, and will be available in the fourth quarter. Pricing was not disclosed.

“Akamai and IBM are helping customers extend application execution to the Internet’s edge, thus simplifying the extension of core business processes like supply
chain management, customer service, and sales lead generation to the Internet,” said Chris Schoettle, an Akamai vice president.

Examples of possible users and uses of the service include: a telecom provider offering an interactive database for trouble-shooting, shifting the workload closer
to the user; a retail site sending credit card transactions directly to the payment center, bypassing the origin server.

“IBM is delighted to collaborate with Akamai to help customers enjoy fast, scalable and fault-tolerant applications that maximize business efficiency,” said John
, an IBM general manager.

The announcement between Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai and Armonk, N.Y.-based Big Blue comes at a time when the Internet content delivery market is becoming crowded.

Earlier today, Sprint trumpeted a new service aimed at improving distance learning and
communication over wide area networks. Its offering, announced at a Las Vegas trade show, is based on networking equipment from Cisco .

“Enterprises can now take advantage of and improve performance and response times for Web, intranet, extranet and e-commerce applications,” said Patrick
, president of Sprint Business.

Shares of AKAM and IBM rose 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively. FON shares gained 6 percent. CSCO traded up 20 percent, largely on a positive quarterly
earnings report.

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