Oracle to buy network equipment maker Acme Packet for $1.7 billion

Oracle has agreed to pay US$1.7 billion for Acme Packet, a network equipment vendor specializing in session delivery.

Carriers and enterprises use Acme's products to manage the quality of voice, video, application or unified communications sessions across all-IP networks.

Oracle intends to integrate Acme's offering with its own communications product portfolio, alongside other core network products such as its network application platform and tools to manage service availability.

The move will enable it to help service providers monetize their IP networks, Oracle said. That's a matter of perpetual concern for network operators concerned that they will become nothing but a commodity "bit pipe" as application providers reap all the profits.

Oracle faces a saturated market for the product among major telcos, though: 89 of the world's top 100 communications are already Acme customers, it said.

Session delivery is the fifth of seven layers in the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) networking model, dealing with the establishment, management and termination of dialogs between computers. It sits on top of the transport (layer 4), network, data link and physical layers. Above it come the presentation and application layers.

Acme's board of directors has already approved the acquisition, and Oracle expects to close the deal in the first half of the year if stockholders accept it.

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