A spate of licensing deals which embed Australian technology in US hardware and software offerings points to changes in IT market dynamics.
Networking specialist Moreton Bay Ventures and object-oriented software developer DSTC have struck a series of agreements in recent weeks to licence their technology in the US. The total value of the deals adds up to well over $1 million, according to spokesmen for the two companies.
In keeping with the new realities both companies are contractually bound to hold the names of their new OEM partners in confidence. The US companies are presenting their wares to customers as one-stop shop solutions. In keeping with that image, they are not interested in trumpeting the fact they've stitched a number of third-party offerings into their products.
From the Australian side, not attacking the US market with an independent product saves marketing dollars. Rather than spending vast sums to reach US end users, Australian developers need only target the appropriate OEM community.
In some cases, that can be accomplished by a single trip to Comdex. That's how Moreton Bay Ventures managing director Bob Waldie recently won a $113,000 contract with a US communications company that is rebadging Moreton Bay's multi-modem technology on an OEM basis.
It is the "first big bite" for the two-year-old startup but more licensing agreements are in the offing, said Waldie. Although Moreton Bay set up a US office in November with one staffer, Waldie has no intention of creating a weighty US presence.
Despite being a co-founder of connectivity hardware manufacturer Stallion Technologies which used a more traditional marketing route to achieve success in the US, Waldie is following a different game plan with Moreton Bay.
"It is a question of knowing where your competence lies," he said.
"Australians are very good technical innovators but we are not as effective as the Americans when it comes to marketing."
Similar views are held by DSTC, which recently licensed its trading object service technology, Trader, to a California solutions provider on a non-exclusive basis. It is the latest in a number of similar arrangements which should earn DSTC at least $1 million in fees, according to business development manager Bruce Isbister.
The CORBA-based software facilitates the advertising and discovery of services in distributed systems. It takes advantage of the ability of objects to advertise their characteristics and find each other.
DSTC's contract calls for it to hold the name of its partner in confidence for the life of the agreement and five years thereafter.
"It is the way the world is moving," Isbister said. "Every contract we've signed recently includes the provision that we can't publicise it without express permission.