Melbourne IT, Ericsson Announce JV

Melbourne IT and Ericsson Australia have announced an agreement to create a joint venture company to develop mobile Internet and secure mobile e-commerce applications.

The joint venture is based on a group of 70 software engineers which has operated as ASAC (Advanced Services Application Centre) for over five years as an unincorporated venture between the two organizations. Melbourne IT expects the group to grow to more than 200 by 2003.

The joint venture company will commence operations in January 2001. It will be based in Melbourne, have a capital underwriting of $10 million and will initially employ 70 to 100 staff.

Ericsson said the ASAC team had already brought software intensive products quickly to market, naming “Smart Message Services, Intelligent Network products, Televoting and early Wireless Application Protocol applications.”

“The new JV reflects Ericsson’s business strategy of developing close alliances with trusted partners around the world, who can bring complementary competences into our diverse production capability,” said Karl Sundstrom, managing director of Ericsson Australia. “Melbourne IT not only is a respected technology player in the global Internet domain registration market,” he claimed, “its international channel partner network provides a window into e-commerce that complements Ericsson’s extensive worldwide customer network.”

CEO of Melbourne IT, Professor Peter Gerrand said Melbourne IT would hold 50 percent equity in the joint venture, “which will give us equity participation in many new secure mobile e-commerce applications that can be sold via Ericsson’s and Melbourne IT’s respective distribution networks.”

Greg Crew was appointed as independent Chairman of the new joint venture. Mr. Crew is Vice-Chair of Internet governing body ICANN, a director of ERG and Chairman of the Australian Telecommunications Education Centre in South Australia. The designated CEO of the venture will be Mr. Tom Dangthanh, formerly technical director and a co-founder of Melbourne IT.

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