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IBM lands server deal in Hong Kong

The computer maker says it is helping the East Asian government begin delivering services to its citizens via the Internet.

IBM Friday said it is helping the Hong Kong government begin delivering government services to its citizens via the Internet.

The computing giant has been named the supplier of Unix operating systems to Hong Kong as part of the territory's efforts to help citizens go online to conduct tasks such as applying for a visa or processing tax documents. The two-year contract calls for Big Blue to provide a wide range of hardware, including IBM eServer Unix machines, as well as Shark, its flagship storage system.

Financial details were not disclosed.

IBM said the deal represents a significant win against rivals Sun Microsystems and EMC. All three players go head-to-head in the server and storage equipment arenas, ever battling over mind and market share, and regions such as Asia provide opportunities outside their home market.

According to a recent study by market researcher Dataquest, the U.S. server market shrank about 2 percent in the first quarter due to a slowing economy.

Still, Sun and Dell Computer managed to eke out double-digit sales growth, while IBM stayed its course with sales remaining relatively unchanged. Although IBM rival Sun nabbed the top spot in Unix-server market share in the Dataquest study, the company has recently been hammered by repeated warnings of lowered earnings expectations, dwindling revenue and executive departures.

The Hong Kong government is aiming to bring to the Web many services that previously required people to fill out paperwork or to travel to government offices. IBM's products will be used for a number of additional government applications, such as developing e-mail systems, the company said.