Compaq and Intel formed an alliance last week to attack the networking market.
The two desktop giants have forged a major agreement which will bind them to joint licensing, engineering and product development. Products arising from the deal are expected to ship in the third or fourth quarter this year, though neither company would say what such kit might be.
"Our aim is to give customers a smooth transition from Ethernet to Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet," said Graham Stewart, networking marketing manager at Compaq UK. "We're working with Intel so networking customers can take advantage of advanced processing technology."
Both companies, he said, are focused on "aggressive plans to expand the networking market". This will involve forcing the pace in the networking industry by cutting prices and getting kit to market quickly, hotting up competition with established vendors such as Cisco and 3Com. "Together we will help customers get Gigabit Ethernet faster and at lower cost than would otherwise be the case," he pledged.
Stewart promised details of new joint products from the vendors within weeks. "We both have a very aggressive schedule for getting the technology to market," he said.
The agreement covers products from the lowest end of the market, such as network interface cards (NICs), through switches, hubs and adaptors, right up to the highest end and technology such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and remote access servers.
Compaq already has a partnership with Cisco in the networking market, under which the firm licenses Cisco's Internetworking Operating System software and markets certain Cisco routers. Stewart claimed this agreement is not affected by the alliance with Intel. The networking market has only become a serious area of focus for both Compaq and Intel in the past 18 months.
Intel has already proved its determination to shake up the network market by initiating a round of severe price cuts on 10/100 Ethernet adaptors over the summer.
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