A row over the future of Unix has erupted between Hewlett-Packard and IBM, leaving corporate users piggies in the middle. IBM echoed industry speculation that HP is pulling away from Unix in favour of NT, but HP insisted its joint chip development with Intel, Merced, will support multiple operating systems.
Bob Dukowsky, worldwide vice president of marketing at IBM's RS/6000 group, said HP ?lacked clarity? from a customer perspective. He said that HP?s decision to work closely with Intel on the Merced platform meant that it was, in effect, withdrawing from the Unix market.
?I hear from customers that HP is offering a rather confusing story in the marketplace,? he said. ?Our declaration in December [not to support PowerPC for NT] clarified things. The RS range is Unix and in a very competitive market. Customers need clarity."
That confusing messge was strongly denied by Klaus Armbruster, European vice president of strategy at Hewlett-Packard. He said: ?Nice try IBM, but nothing else. When it comes to operating systems, the statistics show that there are two OS still growing, NT and Unix. It?s not a matter of clarity.?
He said he was not hearing that message from HP?s corporate customers. ?They want to know what?s going on with Unix and NT but they also look into the future,? he said. ?We?ve never said we?ll go down either the Unix route or the Intel route.?
He claimed that Jim Elkin, a senior VP at Microsoft, was on record as saying that there was no single operating system that can fulfil all the needs of users. Merced will provide for all future operating systems, he claimed.
?We?re working on a future processor with Intel and on the same hardware you can run Unix, NT or whatever. It will be a brand new post-Risc architecture and you can choose between Unix and NT,? he said. ?Microsoft will develop a fully optimised 64-bit version of NT for that processor and you?ll be able to run current operating systems too."
Four weeks ago, Armbruster admitted it was unlikely that the ?proliferation multiprocessor? was likely to see the light of day until 1999.
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