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Softek breaks away from Fujitsu

Storage management software supplier Softek announced a management-led buyout of itself from its parent company Fujitsu, making it a privately owned company now called Softek Storage Solutions. 

Softek chief executive officer Steve Murphy said no layoffs are planned as a result of the split and the company headquarters will remain in California. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Fujitsu purchased Softek, then called Amdahl, seven years ago for $850m to produce storage management software to sell in its Asia-Pacific market.

Amdahl was renamed Softek three years ago and put out its first open systems storage management product, Softek Storage Manager, 18 months ago. It now has grown to have more than 700 customers. 

Amdahl, founded in 1979, produced the first IBM mainframe clone. Murphy said its mainframe software division, while still representing two-thirds of the company's sales, was melded with its open systems group while the company was owned by Fujitsu, something he now wants to correct by splitting the two divisions again. 

The company has hired Herb Jones, who worked at IBM in its Tivoli storage software group, to be general manager of its mainframe group, and Karen Dutch, who becomes general manager of its open systems group. 

Murphy said his company's relationship with Fujitsu was always considered an incubation period for Softek to use Fujitsu's deep pockets for development purposes, and both management teams understood there would be a split eventually.

"Fujitsu got an award-winning product and a return on investment for their development effort," Murphy said, referring to the Storage Manager product. 

Softek's breakaway from Fujitsu allows it to refocus attention on the underserved, but growing, mainframe market, said Nancy Marrone-Hurley, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. "But you have to think that Fujitsu is still going to have a big stake in Softek,"she added. 

Fujitsu will continue to be a strategic partner to Softek through a multiyear agreement for distribution of data availability and enterprise storage resource management software throughout the Asia-Pacific and Central Europe regions.

Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld


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