German systems integrator T-Systems International has agreed to strengthen its existing hardware resale partnership with Fujitsu Siemens.
T-Systems and Fujitsu Siemens said they intend to align their products and services more closely to meet the needs of enterprise customers in Europe and collaborate in the development of new products, such as communications systems for vehicles.
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Axel Jung, manager of strategic partnerships at Fujitsu Siemens, said, "We want to work more closely with a hardware supplier that is not directly competing against us in our core systems integration business."
The move comes just days after IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo Group in order to concentrate on services. "IBM already generates more than half of its revenue from services," Jung pointed out.
He said T-Systems will continue to support computer systems from IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which has also been expanding aggressively into systems integrations.
"We will deliver and support whatever computer systems our customers want but when we are asked to make a recommendation, we will recommend Fujitsu Siemens," he said.
In turn, T-Systems hopes to gain access to the customer channels of Fujitsu Siemens across Europe and those of Fujitsu in Asia and the US, Jung said.
However, T-Systems can expect little, if any, support from Siemens, the other joint venture partner in Fujitsu Siemens. The German electronics and engineering conglomerate has its own systems integration subsidiary, Siemens Business Services.
While analysts generally understand why a systems integrator would be eager to hook up with a hardware supplier that is not expanding into services, some question whether this move will help to broaden the German company's geographical coverage.
"T-Systems may be looking to leverage Fujitsu Siemens' presence in Europe but I don't see how this will drive expansion in any significant way," said Nicole France, principle analyst at Forrester Research.
Acquisitions could possibly play a role, according to France, but T-Systems appears to be focused on organic growth.
"I expect T-Systems will try to follow some of its key customers around the world and generate new business from that expansion," she said.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service