May 7, 2006 8:00 PM PDT

Former Apple exec joins Tellme board

Voice portal firm Tellme Networks plans to announce on Monday that it has added former Apple software chief Avie Tevanian to its board of directors.

Tevanian, who helped lead Apple's software development efforts for much of the past decade, stepped down in March from his post as chief software technology officer. At Apple, Tevanian helped lead much of Apple's Mac OS X work, having previously led Next's development of the Nextstep operating system and having been a key engineer on the Mach kernel at Carnegie Mellon.

"Avie's expertise in building products that consumers love is core to what we do," Tellme CEO Mike McCue said in a statement. "He is a fantastic addition to Tellme's Board and will help guide our technology team on both product and platform development."

Avie Tevanian Avie Tevanian

Tellme, which is privately held, helps other companies run Internet applications that customers access over the phone.

The company began life as more of a consumer venture and had some bumps along the way as it moved its focus toward offering services for businesses. The company still operates a free information line at (800) 555-TELL, but a lot of its business these days is helping cellular and traditional phone companies like Cingular and Verizon modernize and expand their directory assistance.

Among the other projects that run on the company's technology are customer service applications for Merrill Lynch and American Airlines and e-commerce for Fandango and Amazon.com.

Tellme's sights appeared to shift recently to the search giants. The company has had talks with Google, Microsoft and others about helping them add telephony services, according to a source close to the company. Former Microsoft executive Brad Silverberg was among Tellme's earliest backers.

And Tellme is seen as a potential candidate to go public soon. Among its ranks is former Wall Street analyst Lise Buyer, who serves as the company's VP of strategic alliances.

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Tellme Networks Inc., Apple Computer, exec, Microsoft Corp.

 

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