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February 2, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

There is no possibility that Fujitsu Ltd will abandon its IBM compatibility policy for mainframes, because Fujitsu considers that IBM provides the industry standard. So declared Fujitsu’s president Takume Yamamoto at the Foreign Press Club in Tokyo last week, no doubt hoping that the statement will lay to rest forever the suggestions that the company might abandon its policy of maintaining full compatibility with MVS in its mainframe operating system. There was a time when the company gave out weak noises about its commitment to IBM compatibility – but that was before Fujitsu won its stunning victory over IBM before the American Arbitration Association, which gives it privileged access to the source code of future MVS releases. In non mainframe areas, said Mr Yamamoto, Fujitsu will pursue its own directions. Turning to other themes, he declared that a global strategy and outlook is essential for success. Fujitsu currently has 10 foreign factories in six countries – Spain, Ireland, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and the one that is being established in Thailand. His message is that Fujitsu is trying to be a cross-cultural company – of its 35 overseas subsidiaries, 14 currently have local nationals as president. Its biggest overseas investment, not too surprisingly, is in the US, where it is investing $70m building its semiconductor plant in Gresham, Oregon. Nevertheless only 3% of total production is currently manufactured outside Japan and accounts for 15% of all overseas revenue: the target is to raise overseas output to 10% of the total. Basic research is rather less international, and there are so far no foreigners participating in basic research, and only about 20 in applications research, including those employed overseas. And a foreigner on the Fujitsu board? Forget it. On foreign trade, he said that 10% of the semiconductors used by Fujitsu, worth $220m, were currently procured from the US. Asked what he thought about the US Semiconductor Industry Association recommendation that this be raised to 20%, he said that Japanese companies always want to buy something if it was cheap and good, and he saw no impediment to increasing purchases to 20% if the right products were available. On the personal computer market, he said that although Fujitsu has been steadily losing market share to NEC Corp, sales last year were 1.8 times those of 1986, and he was confident that the growth rate would continue. And back on the mainframe front, Fujitsu remained bullish about the long-term future: despite all the excitement about the Tron project, and increasingly powerful microprocessors, mainframes would not go away.

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