Arch rivals Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have invested a combined $50m in specialist US telecoms company BroadBand Office.
BroadBand Office offers bundled communications services to office tenants of property developers through on-site phone jacks. Its alliances with several property companies has helped to extend its reach to 20 per cent of all office space in the US.
Microsoft and Sun have each pumped $25m into the company in a bid to sell their respective technologies to BroadBand's customers.
BroadBand will push Sun's range of products including its StorEdge storage tools, iPlanet, StarOffice, Star Portal, SunRay and Java.
Microsoft will offer BroadBand customers its range of messaging, ecommerce, and media services applications.
Vinod Khosla, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, BroadBand's venture capital company, believes the alliance with Sun is a good fit. "The combination of Sun's platform technology and applications and BroadBand's engineering and product development organisation will allow BroadBand to offer a truly differentiated set of services to customers nationwide."
IDC has estimated that businesses spend $125bn a year on phone services, and Sun and Microsoft see their partnerships with BroadBand as a way to get a slice of that pie.
"Because of its focus on providing services directly to tenants, BroadBand is in a unique position to reach small and medium sized businesses," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
BroadBand provides services in eight US cities and plans to expand into Europe, Canada and Latin America in early 2002.
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