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IBM Japan, MS form server alliance

The two companies will share PC-related products and technologies, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

IBM Japan (IBM) is expected to form an alliance with Microsoft (MSFT) that will allow the company to sell servers based on the Windows NT operating system.

Microsoft will give IBM special certification and the two companies will share PC-related products and technologies, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's largest business daily. Microsoft may later broaden the effort in order to tap IBM's expertise in mainframe computer technologies, the report said.

Financial deregulation and other changes in the Japanese economy are resulting in surging corporate demand for servers that manage information networks. NEC and other major server manufacturers expect server shipments to double in the current fiscal year.

IBM Japan expects to be able to at least double its forecast for shipments of NT-based servers in 1997 as a result of the arrangement. The report also stated that IBM will expand its sales and systems development efforts to new cities by the end of 1998, including Osaka, Nagoya, Seoul, and Beijing.

In August, Microsoft and NEC entered into a similar alliance. The companies agreed to jointly develop technologies and support each other's independent server products in virtually every segment of the business computing market. In particular, the companies are working on technology that Microsoft needs to make Windows NT more palatable to large corporations.

For example, NEC and Microsoft will jointly develop 8- and 16-way symmetric multiprocessing technology that will be incorporated into as-yet unreleased servers from NEC as well as technology for 64-node clustering. Symmetric multiprocessing involves stringing together two or more processors in the same box to improve overall productivity. Clustering allows corporations to build in fail-safe backup systems. Corporations have been steadily clamoring for improvements from Microsoft in both areas.