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Unisys throws weight behind 'mature' Linux

Enterprise services provider sees open source as a "key area" for growth, as it tries to make Linux more attractive to large companies.

Open source is now "a mature technology" and the right cost-effective option for many companies, said Peter Blackmore, president of worldwide sales at Unisys.

Blackmore, a former Hewlett-Packard executive who masterminded the company's Adaptive Enterprise strategy, outlined Unisys' strategy for growth at a meeting in London on Wednesday. He said the enterprise services company is now focused on four core areas: Enterprise security, real-time infrastructures, open source and the Microsoft market.

Unisys, based in Blue Bell, Pa., is now working with some major companies to deliver open-source solutions, Blackmore added.

"Linux is really in demand now," he said. "We are working with one client, a major European travel business, where we are pitching open-source in a large server environment. We can prove the reliability and the maturity, and it will save them 30 percent off the bottom line."

Blackmore also said that outsourcing--much of it desktop outsourcing--is now 50 percent of Unisys's business. The combination of Microsoft Windows on the desktop and open-source software on the server can be the most successful strategy for the company, he said in an interview.

Blackmore believes that the main problem for Unisys has been to find ways to successfully market itself. One issue is that the company does not have great visibility outside its core markets. "Customers say, 'We wish you were better known,' and we have to address that," he said.

Blackmore has come full circle in his career after starting with Burroughs Machines, which then merged with Sperry-Univac to become Unisys. Blackmore moved on to Compaq and then joined HP in the merger of those two companies, before returning to Unisys.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.