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October 6, 1998

FRANCE TELECOM TAPS IBM FOR JAVA NET PHONE SOFTWARE

By CBR Staff Writer

France Telecom SA has gone to IBM Corp for Java software and other services for screen telephones that it will begin rolling out some time next year. The two companies will also market the technology to telecommunications companies around the world. There will be a variety of manufacturers of the devices, including Alcatel and Northern Telecom. The Java software, code- named Project Brittany at Big Blue will eventually work with cellular phones and handheld computers and is the first time IBM has provided such software on anything other than PCs or network computers. The phones, which will have color screens, will meet the specifications of the Internet Screen phone Reference Forum (ISRF). The target market is the 35 million or so Minitel users that are still using text-based terminals to buy things and access information. Minitel was first deployed back in 1981 and is thought to be the main reason internet access in France lags behind other European nations and the US.

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