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April 28, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Hitachi Ltd was so unprepared for the was demand for mainframes at traditional prices has plummeted that it has had to go to IBM Corp for its CMOS 390 microprocessors as a short-cut to getting machines out to save its VOS3 mainframe base in Japan – which remains substantially larger than its plug-compatible business in the rest of the world, although it will market parallel machines running MVS/ESA in its current international markets as well as VOS3 machines back home. And despite having built its own parallel Unix machine from the Precision Architecture RISCs it fabricates under licence from Hewlett-Packard Co, it has agreed to market IBM’s SP2 Powerparallel machines in Japan, the thinking here being that AIX is seen as a more commercial Unix than others to traditional mainframe shops. It has also agreed to look at using the PowerPC in some products, without making any firm commitment. Under the 390 microprocessor agreement with IBM, the latter will supply Hitachi with future versions of the CMOS microprocessors, microcoded to run VOS3, for use in systems to be developed, manufactured and marketed by Hitachi from 1996. Hitachi and IBM are continuing discussions on co-operation on future RISC systems based on Power and PowerPC architecture, but that looks like the price exacted by IBM for allowing Hitachi to buy the 390 chips. The two say they will also also co-operate to promote industry standards in large-scale computers, expand mutual OEM sales and conduct joint development. IBM already buys mainframe printers from Hitachi, and both companies were core Open Software Foundation founder-sponsors. Hitachi maintains that it will continue its relation ship with Hewlett-Packard on Precision Architecture, but the development is clearly a setback for it.

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