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Fujitsu and Microsoft expand relationship

With Hurwitz Group research showing the platform market bifurcated between .NET and J2EE, Fujitsu's move may swing the balance a bit more to .NET, particularly in the Asia/Pacific market.

Market Commentary
Fujitsu and Microsoft expand relationship

On June 18, Fujitsu Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. announced the next step in their global alliance. Fujitsu, a heavy hitter in the Asia/Pacific market and growing in the North American market, is realigning core software, hardware, and services arms to support Microsoft's worldwide .NET efforts. The new alliance includes key software changes in the ever-more-interesting software infrastructure space:

  • Fujitsu will develop a .NET version of its Interstage, a J2EE-certified application server and surrounding integration technology. Fujitsu will round this out with its services to build .NET solutions that take advantage of the family of Microsoft's .NET tools and servers. These solutions will be tied into the Fujitsu line of hardware servers to make a combined Fujitsu hardware and middleware with Microsoft enterprise software.
  • Fujitsu recently released its COBOL to .NET tool, NetCOBOL, for extending the reach and value of legacy COBOL assets into a .NET and Web services world. This tool will give Visual Studio.NET developers deeper reach into core transactional systems that still make up the bulk of mission-critical applications, particularly in industries such as financial services.

THE HURWITZ TAKE: In relationship with the other J2EE infrastructure providers, Fujitsu's strength has been mainly outside the North American market and has been primarily targeted at the ISV channel. As a result, Fujitsu with Interstage has not necessarily commanded brand recognition as a big-time provider of Java infrastructure software, but the products Fujitsu brings to market are mature and proven. Additionally, with its NetCOBOL tool, Fujitsu introduces a much-needed bridge from COBOL to .NET into the market -- something that many of the largest providers in the space overlook. Hurwitz Group stresses again that no Web services story is complete without a viable and flexible way to bring COBOL assets to bear. With the close embrace of Microsoft and .NET, Fujitsu is bucking the trend in the J2EE world. Other players such as SAP have recently publicly cooled to .NET, and of course Sun Microsystems, BEA, and Oracle haven't set up shop anywhere near .NET town. IBM still straddles the fence in many ways but leans heavily to Java; as does Sybase.

The point is that with Hurwitz Group research showing the platform market bifurcated between .NET and J2EE, Fujitsu's move may swing the balance a bit more to .NET, particularly in the Asia/Pacific market. Continued J2EE squabbling and competition inhibit the growth of J2EE infrastructure deployments. But ultimately, it is not about choosing Java or .NET to a customer that has a working, scalable, and flexible business solution.

Forming this alliance is a bullish move for Fujitsu, and although Microsoft has succeeded in rallying smaller ISVs to the .NET platform, this deal is the equivalent of the Mariners' signing Ichero to make the team's lineup more potent and versatile. But while Ichero has already proven his All-Star status, this new Fujitsu and Microsoft plan will take some time to execute. The partnership potentially adds more enterprise kick to .NET. Early success in Asia/Pacific, Fujitsu's core market, could slingshot .NET globally, and Fujitsu should increase market room in North America by supporting Microsoft rather than by simply attacking the Java opportunity.

Copyright 2002 Hurwitz Group Inc. This article is excerpted from TrendWatch, a weekly publication of Hurwitz Group Inc. - an analyst, research, and consulting firm. To register for a free email subscription, click here.

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