National Advanced Systems, jointly acquired by Hitachi Ltd (80%9 and Electronic Data Systems Corp (20%) in April, is holding a series of European conferences to publicise its new identity as Hitachi Data Systems. Gary Moore, previously with EDS, is president and chief executive, and he heads an executive committee responsible for long term planning and […]
National Advanced Systems, jointly acquired by Hitachi Ltd (80%9 and Electronic Data Systems Corp (20%) in April, is holding a series of European conferences to publicise its new identity as Hitachi Data Systems. Gary Moore, previously with EDS, is president and chief executive, and he heads an executive committee responsible for long term planning and strategy. Hitachi Data Systems has been the subject of much press coverage over the past year, largely because of the proposed take-over of its European operations by Comparex Informationssysteme GmbH. However the collapse of prolonged negotiations, the reasons for which have never been fully publicised, did the company little good, and Moore says that his short-term brief is to concentrate on the existing portfolio and recover lost ground. It could be argued that Moore’s brief is made easier by virtue of Hitachi’s 80% stake in the company, and that Comparex, Hitachi’s other European reseller, is now at a distinct disadvantage.
No gentleman’s agreement
Moore denies that the two companies have any sort of gentlemen’s agreement, saying that they have competed for a number of years and will continue to do so. And he also denies any suggestion that Hitachi Data Systems will receive more favourable discounts from Hitachi than Comparex. However, Moore acknowledges that IBM Credit Corp says exactly the same of its parent. Regardless of speculation on its future relationship with Comparex, Hitachi Data Systems perceives competition as coming from two sources, IBM and Amdahl. He therefore dismisses recent offerings from DEC and Tandem, which lack the applications and richness of 370 architecture, but do have the capability to open new doors. He says that in order to capture a larger share of the mainframe market, Hitachi Data Systems is going to have to respond more quickly to new technology, and claims that when IBM releases Summit, he’ll be ready with an appropriate response. And when will IBM release Summit? The concensus in Hitachi Data Systems is that IBM will only do that when market demand dictates such a move. That is, when IBM stops shifting 3090s. And the 4381 will also have a successor, but again, IBM will wait until the glut has died down. Moore agrees that the mainframe market is stagnant compared with several years ago and it needs some sort of stimulus. This is going to come about through enhanced functions, and Moore reckons that Summit will be a staging box for things currently not available on mainframes. Moore foresees Hitachi Data Systems in five years’ time with an expanded portfolio that will feature laser printers, large array storage disks, and front end communication processors. The last is something he finds particularly attractive, and he would like to sell Hitachi’s 3745-compatible processor in Europe, which would seem to make sense since the only competition would come from Fujitsu via Amdahl, and from NCR Comten. However, he’ll wait until Hitachi shows it is fully committed to the necessary investment. On the subject of IBM’s conduct in the leasing market, Moore is refreshingly frank. If he had the same financial backing as IBM Credit Corp, then who’s to say he wouldn’t do exactly the same in order to capture and keep a dominant market share. – Janice McGinn