Microsoft and Fujitsu are expanding a global systems integration alliance to work together on software and hardware for mission-critical systems.
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Under the alliance, the companies will collaborate on the development of Fujitsu servers based on Intel's Itanium processors and Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 and next-generation operating system code named Longhorn and work on improving interoperability between their respective software applications.
Fujitsu will also place engineers in Microsoft's Redmond campus and integrate .net into its Triole software suite.
"We are taking our global alliance to the next frontier, beyond enterprise computing and into mission-critical computing," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.
"This has been a core business for Fujitsu for many years and is an emerging part of Microsoft's business."
The first system developed by the alliance will be an Itanium-based server available in the first half of the next calendar year, said Fujitsu.
"This announcement is going to play a very important milestone in our strategy," said Naoyuki Akikusa, chairman of Fujitsu.
Fujitsu hopes to see worldwide revenue of $7.2bn (£3.94bn) by 2007 from sales of enterprise servers, software products and services as a result of the alliance, it said. Their existing alliance has already reported revenues of $2.2bn in fiscal year 2002 and $2.3bn in 2003, according to Fujitsu, and counts Japan's TKC and the Department of Licensing in the US state of Washington as major customer wins.
"I think Microsoft and Fujitsu have a real chance to go after the systems that run on IBM, and put those on the next-generation Fujitsu hardware and Microsoft's Windows," Ballmer said.
Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service