Microsoft, Fujitsu ally on mission-critical systems

Microsoft and Fujitsu are expanding an existing global systems integration alliance to work together on software and hardware for mission-critical systems, the two companies have announced.

Under the alliance, the companies will collaborate on the development of Fujitsu servers based on Intel's Itanium processors and Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 and next-generation operating system code-named Longhorn and work on improving interoperability between their respective software applications. Fujitsu will also place engineers in Microsoft's campus and integrate .Net into its Triole software suite.

"We are taking our global alliance to the next frontier, beyond enterprise computing and into mission-critical computing," CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer said, at a news conferenceo. "This has been a core business for Fujitsu for many years and is an emerging part of Microsoft's business."

The first system developed as a result of the new alliance would be a available in the first half of the next calendar year, Fujitsu said.

"This announcement is going to play a very important milestone in our strategy," chairman of Fujitsu, Naoyuki Akikusa, said. "Intel is developing next-generation mission-critical servers and Microsoft is looking at Windows Server 2003 and the anticipated Longhorn operating system and with those systems we hope to provide templates for mission-critical platforms for our customers. This is the third alliance with Microsoft and they have all been successful."

Fujitsu hoped to see revenue of $US7.2 billion by 2007 from sales of enterprise servers as a result of the alliance, it said. Its existing alliance had seen revenues of $US2.2 billion in fiscal year 2002 and $US2.3 billion in 2003.

Announcement of the deal comes less than a month after Fujitsu committed to work more closely with Sun Microsystems through merging their Sparc processor-based server product lines by 2006. The Sparc-based machines compete with Windows servers.

Asked for a forecast of future sales of Windows and Sparc-based servers, Akikusa said he expected Fujitsu would be selling "similar" levels of each platform in 2007.

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