Networking giant Nortel has acquired application service provider (ASP) software company Epicon to spearhead its entry into the growing software rental market.
Nortel already owned nine per cent of the company, but has acquired the remaining 91 per cent in a stock deal worth $275m. Epicon develops software that helps ASPs install and manage software on desktops tied to a central server.
In conjunction with the acquisition, Nortel launched its Preside Managed Application Services Platform (PMASP) aimed at ASPs.
Bill Holtz, vice president of Nortel's ASP hosted applications business, said: "This is a solution that allows service providers to very quickly provision applications and use a single infrastructure for their fulfilment, service assurance, provisioning and control, and billing."
PMASP also features BEA Systems' transaction processing and enterprise application and iPlanet's directory product to enable ASPs to offer multiple services via a common directory. Nortel also plans to use iPlanet's applications for web hosting, messaging and calendar systems, while Epicon's technology will be used to manage the applications.
"Epicon's technology allows us, from a central location, to do remote app provisioning, remote app installation, version control, licence management and self healing. If a customer is on the web and downloads something that destroys the desktop, Epicon's technology is one that learns the environment required by the application in terms of registers and settings, and will automatically and transparently reset that desktop," said Holtz.
He emphasised that Nortel will not be an ASP but an "ASP-enabler" targeting small and medium businesses through its ASP partners.
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