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Hitachi to support Merced effort

Hitachi will open a laboratory for developing software applications based on Intel's forthcoming 64-bit Merced processor.

Hitachi will open a laboratory for developing software applications based on Intel's forthcoming 64-bit Merced processor, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, another sign that the Japanese vendor is making a transition from mainframes to high-end PC servers.

In July, one of the world's largest computer manufacturers will begin assisting software vendors whose products will run on servers and workstations based on Intel's first 64-bit chip. The facility is intended to ease Hitachi's entry into the corporate "enterprise" server market, where it has not had a strong presence outside of Japan.

The support center will accommodate business software written for both Microsoft's Windows NT 4.0 operating system and also the rival Unix OS, according to the report.

Last week, Hitachi announced it will license Hewlett-Packard's version of the Unix, called HP-UX, and said it would release servers based on Merced and running HP-UX when Merced arrives. Such servers would be powerful enough to handle many of the tasks undertaken by today's mainframe machines.

Earlier this week, Hitachi said it would release its first Intel-based servers for the U.S. market this June. The servers will boast "mainframe class" features, with the high end of the line targeting corporate usage such as data warehousing based on Windows NT.

Hitachi has been marketing PC servers in the Japanese market for more than six years but does far more business in the mainframe market.