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France Telecom and Microsoft: Ten Things You Need to Know
[July 07, 2005]

France Telecom and Microsoft: Ten Things You Need to Know

Sizing up the Microsoft and France Telecom deal.

TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

1. About a week ago Microsoft signed a deal with France Telecom to "develop converged software and telecom products and services," according to a Microsoft spokesman. Yesterday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and France Telecom's CEO Didier Lombard explained more of what it means.

..a. Ballmer promised the costs and the intellectual property that resulted generally would be shared 50-50.

..b. The New York Times wrote "generally."

2. France Telecom will use the Windows Mobile platform, since it's an integrated, easy-to-use interface for voice, data and video communications over multiple networks.

..a. TV over the Internet isn't part of the deal.

3. Ballmer told reporters that the new digital world "requires new kinds of partnerships," according to The New York Times: "Whereas Microsoft's past allies were companies such as the chipmaker Intel and the PC maker Hewlett-Packard, 'the next generation of partnerships will look like France Telecom,' he said."

4. France Telecom has selected Microsoft Connected Services Framework as the foundation through which they'll "aggregate and deliver a wide variety of services, including voice, video and data services."

..a. Microsoft Connected Services Framework allows telecommunications operators to aggregate, provision and manage converged communications services for their subscribers, regardless of network or device.

5. France Telecom and Microsoft will work together to jointly construct two phones:

..a. LivePhone, a WiFi broadband Smartphone developed by France Telecom for its Home segment, and

..b. Homezone, a service for communications on the move and at home, using a dual-radio GSM / WiFi mobile Voice Over IP device which will evolve to become a Smartphone based on the Windows Mobile platform.

6. Ballmer said the first results would probably hit the market in 12 to 18 months.

..a. This is the same company that's been promising Microsoft CRM for months and months, too.

..b. France Telecom said LivePhone could be ready by the end of the year.

..c. Don't hold your breath.

7. France Telecom and Microsoft will cooperate on a next-generation service platform voice, video and data.

..a. This service platform, using the Microsoft Connected Services Framework, is designed to provide a foundation for building and managing complex services using a service-oriented architecture and Web service interfaces.

8. France Telecom has over 126 million customers worldwide and consolidated revenues of 46.16 billion euros (a little over $50 billion) for 2004 (under IFRS GAAP). It's the second-largest wireless operator and Internet access provider in Europe, and is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges.

9. Haven't there been a number of software-telecom collaborations the past couple months, what with Dutch telecom KPN and Siemens, and Intel with South Korea's KT, to develop new Internet and mobile services?

..a. Sure seems like it. Watch for Larry Ellison to buy British Telecom.

10. Money quote: "Either we are partners or we have the potential to be rivals," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "For us, France Telecom is unique. It is a research and development company. Most telcos are not." (Tacoma News-Tribune)

..a. Favorite quote: " Introduced in [France in] 1981, Minitel was a national videotext system that sent text over phone lines and was used for such things as making train reservations and phone sex." (from The New York Times)

Article links:

The New York Times:

Tacoma News-Tribune:


David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles by David Sims, please visit:

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