Intel, Microsoft boost Internet conferencing

PC industry leaders Intel and Microsoft have announced they have signed a cross-licensing deal intended to set standards and spur user acceptance in the emerging Internet conferencing market.

PC industry leaders Intel and Microsoft have announced they have signed a cross-licensing deal intended to set standards and spur user acceptance in the emerging Internet conferencing market. The deal calls for Intel to license Microsoft's implementation of the T.120 multipoint data collaboration standard, as well as the software giant's ActiveX integration technology and NetMeeting voice and data conferencing software, officials from both companies say.

In exchange, Microsoft will license Intel's implementation of the H.323 protocol, for running multimedia traffic over networks, the Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP), and the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). H.323, RSVP and RTP are found in Intel's ProShare desktop videoconferencing application.

There are two main issues holding back the adoption of Internet-based conferencing: the lack of standards in applications and networking software to allow for reliable conferencing and the difficulty of finding a person's address on the Internet, officials say. To clear these hurdles, Intel and Microsoft have agreed to share their standards implementations. Microsoft will include Intel's standards implementations in NetMeeting, which will be available free of charge along with the company's Internet Explorer 3.0 browser by quarter's end, according to officials. Microsoft will also package Intel's protocol implementations, along with its own, with an ActiveX control that will let software vendors add Internet conferencing capabilities to their applications. A release date was not given for this ActiveX control.

Intel will integrate these protocols into future unspecified products and will work to integrate Internet conferencing capabilities into the base PC platform, officials say. The two companies will also work with Internet white-page software publishers and Internet service providers to make it easier for users to find each other on the Internet by using the User Location Service specification, officials say.

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