Deciding which route to choose for upgrading four processor Intel servers is the toughest decision for Fujitsu and Siemens, which will finalise the merger of their European computer operations by the second week of August.
The new company, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, is a merger of the information and communications products groups of both parent companies. It will become operational under the new structure by 1 October, aiming to create a single worldwide product range under the badge Fujitsu Siemens Computers.
On the Intel server front, this means the company is forced to choose between the differing approach of the two companies to the internal architecture of future eight processor servers.
Fujitsu is currently piloting an Intel based eight way server, the T800I based on the latest Intel Profusion technology. Siemens decided some time ago to use its own chip set, believing this would be available sooner and allowing easy upgrade from its four processor servers.
Vendors using the Profusion chip set will require customers to upgrade the complete box. (see Newswire 6 July)
Rudi Lamprecht president of the information and communication products group of Siemens, said: "It's the only area where there is not a fit, but we will make a decision in the next four weeks."
He added: "Japanese companies don't have a good reputation for giving something up but our Primergy server product line already is worldwide so something must be given up somewhere else."
Like Fujitsu, Siemens has not launched an eight way server yet but is working on the Primergy 870-80 eight way Pentium III Xeon server.
Peter Lemon, analyst at IDC said: "The break point is in this area. Who owns the middle space? Will the company follow the industry direction of Profusion or not. Siemens will have to decide whether it wants to become another Intel metal basher or keep its own in-house engineering expertise. Personally I feel they should go for Profusion."
In other product areas, Lamprecht said that there was "more synergy" between the two companies but admitted that, "certain rationalisations will be necessary."
In the mainframe arena Lamprecht said that the companies will "just continue as always" with Fujitsu developing the hardware and Siemens developing the operating system.
Lamprecht promised future lines will see products with phone and computer capabilities, "integrated into one."
All European computer activities will be combined, including sales forces from both companies, with manufacturing and R&D under one management. "We want a simple approach," said Lamprecht. "We will be worth six billion euros next year and it will take 9,600 people to achieve that."
US ambitions are strong: "If we want to be number three in the world we must focus on the US. Siemens will be listed on the US stock exchange by 2001."
Clive Longbottom, analyst for Strategy Partners, said: "The US is a non area for both companies. Siemens has zero success in the desktop arena in the States. Fujitsu sells some servers in the States, but not that many."
IDC's Lemon said: "I am not convinced they can take on Dell and Compaq in their own back yard."
On the question of speculation over the future of Fujitsu's Amdahl subsidiary, Lamprecht refused to comment.
Lemon added: "This is the part of Fujitsu that doesn't fit with Siemens. Amdahl is an IBM modelled mainframe vendor concentrating on high end stuff. If they want to pull in one direction they must get everything in-house."
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