TELECOM 99: IBM, Nokia team on wireless

IBM and Nokia announced a global partnership here yesterday which they said will help companies extend electronic-business applications to a variety of mobile devices.

In a statement, the companies said IBM has agreed to market and distribute Nokia's WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) server software on some of its PC servers, and will license Nokia's WAP technology to integrate with some of IBM's software platforms.

WAP is a set of software protocols that allow users to download Web content onto mobile phones that are fitted with a special "microbrowser". The first WAP-based phones were recently launched by Nokia, LM Ericsson Telephone Co and others.

The Nokia WAP server software will soon be available on IBM's NetFinity servers running Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, the companies said. IBM will also combine Nokia WAP technology with its middleware for what it calls "pervasive computing".

WAP technology will be used in new technologies IBM is developing for wireless applications, IBM said. They include its "transcoding" services, which translate HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) documents into stripped-down HTML for handheld devices.

This is not the first such link-up for Nokia. Last month, it made a similar agreement with Hewlett-Packard Co.

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