Nortel Networks Corp has entered into an agreement with IBM Corp. to jointly develop networking products for the telecommunications industry. The agreement, signed last month, will initially focus on the development of carrier-grade servers for communications providers that will be based on IBM’s BladeCenter server design.

The two companies have established a 30-person joint development centre in Research Triangle Park, N.C., but spokesmen from both IBM and Nortel were unable to provide many details on the project, which IBM Business Consulting Services Partner Steve Hasselmann characterized as a “strategic alliance.”

In addition to the BladeCenter servers, IBM plans to provide the engineering and technical services to help Nortel develop a wide range of products for multimedia services, voice over IP (Internet Protocol) and wired and wireless broadband services, Hasselmann said.

Nortel, in Brampton, Ont., expects the deal to reduce its research and development costs, the company said in a statement.

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— IDG News Service