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British Telecommunications Plc and US videoconferencing specialist PictureTel Corp have announced a European partnership under which British Telecom will sell PictureTel’s high-end Concorde and low-end Venue videoconferencing systems throughout Europe. PictureTel said that these two products accounted for 75% of total revenues in the last quarter. The company said it had recorded a turnover of $244m for the year so far. PictureTel said that the non-exclusive agreement was a natural extension of an existing alliance it has had for several years with MCI Communications Corp in the US. The agreement will increase PictureTel’s distribution reach in the UK and provide it with access to new market sectors, Tim Duffy, vice-president of sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa said. Both companies plan to focus on small and medium-sized businesses following a previous concerted effort to focus on large firms. The alliance marks the first of its kind for British Telecom which said both companies would in the long term pool technical resources and work on joint product development. Both believe the videoconferencing market will be worth $7,500m by the end of next year. PictureTel claims that it already has 49% of this market and that the alliance will radically change the shape of the UK videoconferencing market.

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