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XACCT Technologies, a provider of network data management solutions for service providers' business infrastructure, has managed to see off the American giant HP to win a contract from Boeing aircraft manufacturers.

According to the tender, estimated to be worth several million dollars, XACCT will supply Boeing with its Network-to-Business (N2B) software platform which allows a bi-directional link between the provider's network and the back-office business and operation support systems.

Eric Gries, XACCT president and CEO, said that the N2B platform will enable Boeing to manage its billing for its broadband services, known as Connexion by Boeing. The services include Internet access, electronic mail and secured access to internal systems. Gries explained that Boeing had recognized an opportunity to supply fast Internet services in business class seats on commercial flights.

Ten airlines have joined the project so far, including Lufthansa, which will launch its Internet service in the next few days and British Airways which will start its service next month. Japan Airlines announced that it will operate Connexion by Boeing on 10 of its Asian planes used for long-haul flights, while Scandinavian Airlines has made a similar announcement.

Gries reported that the contract involves the installation of XACCT's N2B platform on several Boeing aircraft over a two-year period. Though he refused to be drawn on the value of the Boeing deal, he did say that part of the fees for the software acquisition had already been paid to the company. "In addition to the software payments," Gries explained, "each time an airline charges one of its clients for use of the service, 1 percent of the sum will be paid to XACCT."

This is the third time that XACCT has beaten HP in a tender since October 2002. In November 2002, XACCT beat HP in supplying services on Optus' mobile network in Australia, and one month before, XACCT had seen off HP in a tender to supply the American major player Sprint PCS.

Gries recently declared that the company was expecting to show a positive cash flow in the last quarter of 2002, and to be profitable from the first quarter of 2003. Among the company's investors are Sun Microsystems, Dell Computer, Deutsche Bank and TCV and Trident Capital funds.