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August 2, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Fujitsu Ltd, the world’s second largest computer company, is negotiating a major marketing agreement with Sun Microsystems Inc that would put it firmly into the AT&T Co Unix camp that opposes the IBM-DEC-Hewlett-Packard Open Software Foundation. According to Reuter the Japanese company is seeking rights to market Sun Sparc-based workstations in Japan under the Fujitsu name. Some kind of investment in Sun similar to the agreement in which AT&T is entitled to accumulate 20% over time is also hinted at. Fujitsu already has a relationship with Sun, but only as one of three foundries making different versions of the Sparc microprocessor. At present, Sun’s biggest reseller in Japan is Toshiba Corp, but C Itoh & Co, Tokyo Electron Ltd and Sophia Systems Co also market some Sun workstations there. Sun is believed to be looking for an assured supply of key chips, memories in particular, out of the relationship, and any tie-up would strengthen the loose association between AT&T and Fujitsu: AT&T is already close to Amdahl Corp, 46%-owned by Fujitsu, both as its largest customer for IBM-compatible mainframes, and as a major user of Amdahl’s UTS implementations of Unix for IBM 370 architecture. Fujitsu also wants a knockout product with which to go after the undeveloped Japanese market for engineering workstations, and does not regard its Motorola 68000 family G series of machines as adequate on its own. Agreement between the two is likely to be reached by mid-month.

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