Data General Corp has won a significant fillip from BASF Group’s Comparex Informationssysteme GmbH which is to resell DG’s Aviion servers, including the ccNUMA models, and Clariion disk storage subsystems in Germany and through its European-wide distribution channels. Comparex’s main business is reselling Hitachi Ltd’s IBM-compatible mainframes in Europe and Data General expects sales of its Unix and NT server to the company’s installed base of mainframe users could provide it with a revenue stream equivalent to 10% of Comparex’s revenue which was $565m in 1996. Around 70% of Comparex’s sales are in Germany. DG did 30% of its 1997 $1.53bn sales in Europe last year, 35% of that revenue came from the UK. DG was telling Wall Street brokerages it booked $10m of ccNUMA orders in its September quarter and expects to pull in $80m ccNUMA business next year. That’s less than it could have expected had Santa Cruz Operation Inc delivered a version of its next-generation Gemini Unix operating system for DG’s ccNUMA servers on time. Although Comparex will sell the servers running the company’s own DG-UX Unix, DG’s other European OEM, Fujitsu Ltd’s ICL Plc, will only sell them with the SCO operating system, and DG doesn’t expect that to be available now until next summer at best. DG’s also building a 40-strong direct sales force to help grow its Clariion disk storage business. The current dependence on six OEM partners – Hewlett-Packard Co accounts for 45% and the other five about 10% each – leaves DG at the mercy of their quarterly fluctuations. Data General says that while the OEMs are taking longer to get Fibre Channel up and running than it had anticipated, it expects the entrance of Compaq Computer Corp into the Fibre Channel storage market will help improve recognition and sales of the technology. It’s hoping that 50% of Clariion sales will be derived from the Fibre Channel products by this time next year, up from 16% now. To avoid competing with OEMs its direct business will have to be targeted at vendors such as Sun Microsystems Inc. DG told Merrill Lynch & Co analyst Steve Milunovich that its $500m Clariion sales to OEMs translates into $1bn sales at the retail level.
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