Tuesday, October 12, 1999 Published at 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Business: The Economy
New life for old phones
Picture this: a phone which can take photos
by the BBC's Sarah Boxhall for World Business Report
This man has seen the future.
Parents be warned: there's one aimed at six-year-olds.
And in about four years' time expect all-singing, all-dancing phones that allow you to watch and record video and music.
With the world's first web phone, which costs about $450, you can send e-mails and access the internet through the screen on the phone.
Alcatel believes it will encourage more people in France to get connected.
Converging the internet with traditional telecoms is at the heart of Alcatel's strategy - but it hasn't always been. The company has been through a metamorphosis over the last five years.
In an attempt to gain ground, Alcatel has been disposing of non-core businesses and acquiring American internet companies. It has meant a change of culture and a change of pace.
The company missed the trend for wireless phones and does not want to be left behind over the internet.
Jacques Dunogue, secretary-general of Alcatel,said: "I think the real risk is not being fast enough the name of the game in this ind is speed and whoever doesn't work fast enough is in real danger of being left aside."
Alcatel is not the only company having to refocus itself in the internet age.
Hewlett Packard may be one of the world's largest computer and printing companies, but was slow to embrace the internet.
Now under the direction of a new chief executive, it is reinventing itself, concentrating on end-to-end electronic commerce and services.
Carly Fiorina, President and Chief Executive, of Hewlett-Packard, said: "One of my top priorities in my first 90 days has been to draft a plan for reinvigorating the brand."
The company is also going for growth - that is, acquisitions and partnerships.
Ms Fiorina said: "I do believe that as the communications and computing industries come together, you will see us continuing to build partnerships with more traditional telecoms players."
The company has already announced a link-up with Nokia.
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