Fujitsu and Siemens are to merge their PC operations in a bid to compete with US vendors on global accounts.
The companies announced their intention last week to set up Fujitsu Siemens Computers, a 50:50 joint venture in Europe. Subject to shareholder ratification, the joint venture would be made up of Siemens Computer Systems and Fujitsu Computers, selling worldwide.
Included would be a product portfolio of all the PC and server products they manufacture in Europe.
After the announcement, both companies admitted that they had found it difficult to break into US-dominated global accounts on their own.
"Even if they are just purchasing in Europe, you have to have a US presence to be considered," Brian Taylor, managing director of Fujitsu Computers in the UK, told PC Week.
In Asia and the US, Siemens' operations will be folded into Fujitsu's.
The merged company will not compare in America to the size of home-grown US vendors, but both companies said there was no third (US) partner in the pipeline.
Fujitsu's mainframe-centred subsidiary Amdahl is not part of the deal, but Siemens hopes to "sit down with Amdahl" to discuss cooperation in the US, where Amdahl's market share is estimated at $2 billion (£1.24 billion), PC Week was told by Robert Hoog, president of Siemens Computer Systems.
Even Siemens is much larger than Fujitsu in Europe with revenue of £2.6 billion and 8,000 workers, compared with Fujitsu's £1.3 billion and 1,600 workers, Siemens believes that the venture will reassure its European customers about its future.
"It shows we will carry on and become a global player," Hoog said.
Siemens had been looking for a partner for its PC business since its OEM agreement with the Taiwanese vendor Acer broke down last autumn.
The merger would return Fujitsu to the European Unix server market, which it quit two years ago, choosing instead to go down the Intel/Microsoft route.
Fujitsu's Taylor said he thought that this return to Unix would please some of his company's largest customers.
Fujitsu Siemens hopes to have completed the joint venture by August.
Both companies hoped that in the meantime they could maintain employee motivation and hang on to both staff and customers despite expected wooing by competitors.
Some product lines will be merged, said both companies, but they could not guarantee that there would not be redundancies, given some overlap of product lines.
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