Hewlett-Packard has admitted that it got caught up in the NT hype and allowed its focus on its Unix business to drift last year.
In early 1997 HP announced an alliance with Microsoft to integrate NT and Unix products and services. But over the last three months the company has re-appeared as a Unix evangelist, according to analysts and competitors.
Sources inside the company say HP has more than quadrupled its marketing budget alone for Unix server products.
"Yes, I think we did lose perspective - some people at HP jumped on the NT bandwagon. The Unix side of the business looked at the announcement with Microsoft made on March 19 last year and felt very concerned," said Mark Hudson, product marketing manager for the Internet and applications server division (IASD).
Hudson said the company realised its mistake a few months after - that the announcement had come across to many observers and customers as HP distancing itself from Unix.
"Of course, we weren't moving away from Unix - it is a $10bn business for us," he explained, "We are now being much more aggressive and will be even more so. The approach of the company has been revitalised, that the Unix business is here to stay."
Mixed environments were the reality for most large customers insisted Hudson, where Unix provided the data centre performance and scalability that NT cannot replace.
Release of the V-class high-end server at the end of last year helped update old technology and fill a performance gap, with sales already strong. HP this month reorganised enterprise systems into two Unix divisions: High Performance Systems (HPSD) to focus on the data centre; and IASD to target Internet service providers and enterprise resource planning applications.
Robert Youngjohns, UK managing director of Sun Microsystems, said he had seen a significant refocus from HP on the Unix market in recent months.
"HP has seen the same issue as we did [about Windows NT] - in order to succeed you have to succeed with your own technology. It has spent a lot of money recently on convincing the world about Unix," he said.
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