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Microsoft, NCR in database pact

Microsoft and NCR reach an agreement to link their database technologies and jointly provide data warehousing and e-commerce services.

Microsoft (MSFT) tapped systems company NCR (NCR) for help in tackling the market for high-end data warehousing and availability technologies.

The two companies have been close partners for several years, but the updated five-year pact specifically addresses joint development in the high end, an area Microsoft craves to open for its fast-growing Windows NT operating system (OS).

Under terms of the revised deal, NCR's Teradata relational database will be ported to Windows NT server by the middle of the year; Teradata will be linked to Microsoft's SQL Server database; and the two will use a variety of Net-based software from the Redmond, Washington-based firm to codevelop various commerce-oriented bundles.

The deal continues a litany of partnership deals between Microsoft and billion-dollar systems giants. The list currently includes Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment, Unisys, and Amdahl, among others. The NCR relationship offers Microsoft an entry into the specialized market for data warehousing installations, which give users the ability to pull a variety of data from several sources to answer advanced queries to a database.

NCR is recognized as the leader in data warehousing with more than 40 percent of the market for systems and accompanying software. The systems company is also the leading vendor of NT-based systems costing more than $25,000, according to market researcher International Data Corporation.

Microsoft and NCR said the agreement is the first in what they expect will be a series of announcements. A second phase of the alliance is expected later this year, they said.

NCR also said it will train 1,000 additional consultants as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers to support the initiative.

NCR has targeted the financial, retail, and telecommunications industries for its products. Ian Rogoff, general manager of enterprise partnerships for Microsoft, said the company looks to partner with third parties that are willing to invest in industries ahead of the curve of the market.

Reuters contributed to this report.