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Polycom buys HP video unit, inks service provider pact

Alex Scroxton
Polycom has acquired HP's Visual Collaboration business for an undisclosed sum on a day of major announcements from the unified comms and video specialist.

The deal will see Polycom take control of the assets of the Visual Collaboration unit, including its Halo product lines and managed services business.

At the same time the two vendors have inked an agreement to form a new strategic alliance that will see Polycom serving as an exclusive technology partner to HP for telepresence and certain video UC solutions, providing expertise in software and infrastructure, while HP acts as a reseller for Polycom UC kit.

The deal will also see Polycom's video apps tailored for HP's WebOS platform, acquired last year when HP bought mobility vendor Palm.

Polycom CEO Andrew Miller said the move created a path for both firms to offer customers "an end-to-end UC solution with an unparalleled user experience, interoperability, investment protection and ease of deployment".

HP executive vice president, chief strategy and technology officer Shane Robison added: "This transaction and alliance allows us to focus on executing our strategy in cloud computing and connectivity, while ensuring the long-term care of our customers and development of our services business."

In a separate development, Polycom has also announced the formation of a new alliance, dubbed the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC) that will see it team with leading comms service providers to speed visual comms adoption through increased collaboration across the board.

The alliance includes names such as Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Global Crossing, Masergy and Orange Business Services, and will establish a global standards-based, multi-network and vendor visual communications exchange, said Polycom.

Polycom believes that the potential business and user value of telepresence has been hamstrung by interoperability and connectivity challenges, and claims that the OVCC will "remove the barriers to ubiquity".

IDC senior research analyst Rich Costello said that the need for an collaborative UC "federation" had "grown tremendously".

"Progress around system interoperability is being made through industry forums and alliances, but true b2b interoperability will also require exactly this type of service provider inter-connectivity," he said. "The OVCC is addressing an immediate business need that will help drive greater value for customers and spur broader adoption."

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