IBM, Nortel to Research in The South

IBM and Nortel researchers will collaborate on a new class of blade servers targeting the carrier market, officials announced Friday.

The two companies will build a Nortel-IBM Joint Development Center in North Carolina to reduce research and development costs, pooling their respective expertise in hardware and software.

George Bailey, a partner with IBM’s business consulting services, said IBM’s blade servers and Nortel’s telco software will deliver a solution at a lower cost and with better features than either company would be able to provide alone. The product will focus on better data flow, reliability and security.

“It’s a great example of IBM’s strategy of OnDemand,” he said. “A big part of this OnDemand is recognizing where you have to collaborate to tap into business components that will really help you be successful.”

The collaboration deal with Nortel is also part of Big Blue’s business performance transformation services (BPTS) strategy, the combination of business insight and technology. The solutions created at the development center, he said, will really revolutionize the telco industry.

Officials at Nortel hope that the work started with the blade servers expands into other segments catering to the telecommunications market, such as voice over IP , multimedia services, wireless and end-to-end broadband.

“This agreement with IBM is a critical component of our strategy to partner for growth,” Bill Owens, Nortel vice chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“Working with IBM, as one of their key partners, is a bold step forward in our efforts to transform our business by reaching an entirely new level of R&D collaboration while reducing our R&D costs, introducing products at a faster pace and serving a broad range of customers more rapidly.”

Bailey said that while the development center is not an exclusive agreement, they don’t have plans to build collaboration centers with some of Nortel’s competitors, such as Cisco , Alcatel and Lucent Technologies . IBM, however, is in discussions with the others to work on other joint efforts, he said.

“Every company has different needs, and we would probably never do exactly this for any company. But the idea of collaborating on innovation with other companies is something that we remain open to,” he said, “just like we’ve collaborated with Microsoft on their next-generation Xbox [and] collaborated with Sony with the next generation of their PlayStation.”

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