Microsoft is negotiating to buy a Swedish firm that integrates email networks with wireless data services.
Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft, told a packed auditorium in his keynote speech at the Supercomm conference in Atlanta last week that Microsoft wants to buy the company to give it a software research and development centre in Europe's Nordic region, which is the world's leading mobile communications market.
While Ballmer refused to name the company, it is understood to be Sendit AB.
Ballmer admitted that Microsoft has 'a lot of work to do to continue to improve the reliability, fault tolerance and high availability of NT'.
He said the software giant wants to sell NT and Windows 2000 in the telecoms world, where he envisages traditional carrier networks mingling with traditional packaged software.
'The borders between what telecoms providers and software vendors do are becoming decidedly intermixed. Our goal is not to enter the world of telecoms equipment or services, but to form partnerships with companies in both of those spheres,' Ballmer said.
Microsoft has recently secured a deal with Sprint to develop a communications package for small businesses. The system, which will be available in the summer, will provide voice and data services based on private branch exchange (PBX) equipment, Lan, the internet and remote access server functions.
Features will include voice switching, unified messaging, internet access and Web hosting, plus a set of bundled business applications.
Ballmer also said Microsoft is working to improve the bandwidth battle for small businesses by optimising Windows 98 and 2000 clients to support digital subscriber line (DSL) technology. DSL is used by carriers to add broadband capabilities to their existing copper fibre.
Reinforcing his message that the PC industry is moving closer to the telecoms world, Ballmer said: 'We see opportunities in the way telecoms equipment manufacturers are looking to Intel and other PC technology suppliers. Also, the degree in which customers want to see traditional voice and video communications services integrated with data services brings us all together. We don't have bias, just a core set of technologies.'
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