The 56K modem market is still in a flurry over which standard will prevail but both sides are fighting hard to woo customers, distributors and dealers to their common standard.
The latest spat centres around which of the two standards - X2 or K56Flex - will offer future proofing for customers.
Last Friday, US Robotics dangled a virtual carrot for buyers of its existing 33K technology in the shape of upgrades to its X2 (56Kbps), only a few days after a Brazilian company Transend said it would offer a unit running at the same speed as single channel ISDN.
But that led to a tit-for-tat from the 56KFlex gang, including Lucent, Rockwell, Ascend and Motorola. Ascend said last Friday the standard is capable of upgrading to 700,000 Internet ports, which will aid ISPs worldwide.
Yet two weeks ago, the row over standards led to a public row between ISPs Demon and Pipex UUnet, each of which said it was beta testing different standards. At the time, James Gardiner, marketing director of Demon, said that 56K modems were not even legal in the UK and Europe because of poor telephone lines.
Motorola, a member of the K56flex group, went some way today to defuse the row. Theresa Noonan, retail marketing manager of its Emea group, said: ?We believe we?ve chosen the technology with the largest installed base it?s the best foundation for future technology. Most ISPs will not want to be limited by one or the other.?
She said: ?We?ve looked at the US Robotics statement and we?ll compete vigorously on that.? That could lead to sharp price cuts after launch, she implied.
But the major player in the ISP push was K56flex partner Ascend, she said. They were closer to ISPs than Motorola although it was important all the players in the consortium sang to the same hymnal, she implied.
3Com was founder member of the K56flex consortium but its position is now far more ambiguous than before, following its bid to acquire US Robotics and leverage its X2 technology amongst its customers. No-one from 3Com was available to comment on the renewed frenzy in the lucrative modem market at both the corporate and consumer level.
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