Nokia Buys Stake In F5 Networks

Nokia Internet Communications acquires a 10% equity stake in F5 Networks Inc. and plans to bundle its firewall security products with F5's load-balancing and Internet traffic-management software.



Nokia Internet Communications, a division of telecom equipment maker Nokia Corp., has acquired a 10% equity stake in Internet content- and traffic-management company F5 Networks Inc. The investment gives F5 networks entr?e into the mobile content-delivery market.

Nokia's 10% investment comes with the option to invest another 10% in the next 18 months. Although F5 hasn't specified how the cash investment will be used, F5 VP Jeff Pancottine says the deal shows that Nokia supports his company's technology, which will help it break into new markets. "We get a strong shareholder who has a complete focus on the mobile network," he says.

Nokia also plans to bundle its firewall security products with F5's load-balancing and Internet traffic-management software. Although this is the first formal partnership between Nokia and F5, both companies have crossed each other's paths in the past through services provided to joint customers. "We've sold load-balancing IP products around Nokia's firewalls," Pancottine says. He adds that multiple firewalls increase the possibility of security breeches and traffic spikes, which often calls for load-balancing software that can redirect network traffic from one hosting location to another.

With the investment, Nokia is showing a significant and tangible level of commitment to F5's technology, says analyst William Hurley at the Yankee Group. Hurley adds that the partnership with Nokia gives F5 new opportunities. "F5 can get involved in growing a network infrastructure and move toward facilitating robust Internet content delivery in wireless networks."

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