Alcatel-Lucent and Hewlett-Packard are to form a global alliance that will see the two companies jointly market their products to businesses looking for converged IT and communications systems.
The deal will cover IP telephony, unified communications, security and contact centre products aimed at large and medium-size businesses, and also service providers.
The vendors plan to distribute the joint products through HP resellers, or to offer them as managed services, they said on Thursday.
While the companies have announced their intent to work together for the next 10 years, they have not yet signed a definitive agreement. When complete, the deal could cover billions of dollars of revenue over the 10-year-period, they said.
Alcatel-Lucent will use HP IT products in future telecommunications products, and hopes to cut costs by adopting standards-based PC-industry components and software in its products for service providers.
There's another bonus for HP in that Alcatel-Lucent will hand it the contract to update and manage many of its internal IT systems. Alcatel-Lucent is particularly interested in HP's data centre technology, and hopes to spread the cost of upgrading its systems over the 10-year period.
This is not the first time the companies have combined forces to push unified communications and computing systems.
In October 2003 Alcatel, prior to its merger with Lucent, formed an alliance with HP to sell a package of hardware, services and broadband Internet access called Ready Office to small and medium-size businesses.
While that project had global ambitions, it never really took off outside France, where the partners worked with local network operator France Télécom to deliver the communications component.