Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 346, July 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


In another key endorsement of INTEL CORP.'s IA-64 architecture, FUJITSU, LTD. will build its next generation of high-performance servers around the 64-bit microprocessor known as Merced. This groundbreaking chip now is scheduled for commercial shipment in mid-2000. Fujitsu's development effort will be supported by a wide-ranging strategic alliance with the microprocessor king. The Japanese company says that its interconnect technology will allow 32 Merced chips to work together simultaneously on a single platform. Intel's original specifications for the processor put the maximum linkage at eight chips. Fujitsu's 64-bit servers will run an adapted version of SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Unix-based Solaris operating system rather than Windows NT (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 6).

Also citing the reliability and the scalability of the Unix operating system over the Windows NT environment for demanding enterprise applications, TOSHIBA CORP. indicated that it, too, would use SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris for servers powered by INTEL CORP.'s 64-bit Merced processor. For their part, HITACHI, LTD. and NEC CORP. intend to pair HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s HP-UX operating system with the IA-64 architecture (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, p. 18).

Is there room for two more competitors in the U.S. personal computer server market, where COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP., INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP., DELL COMPUTER CORP. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. control roughly three-fourths of the business? TOSHIBA CORP., the leader in the American market for notebook computers, and HI-TACHI, LTD., which sells both notebook and desktop computers, certainly think so, although NEC CORP. could tell them how hard it is to gain share. In any case, say the newcomers, they currently are at a disadvantage because they do not offer the complete line of products that corporate customers seek. Both Toshiba's Magnia PC servers and Hitachi's VisionBase PC servers run on high- end Pentium II processors. The two Toshiba models already on the market, the entry- level Magnia 3000 and the midrange Magnia 5000, are priced about 10 percent below comparable products from Compaq and IBM. Hitachi's entry-level, midrange and high- end VisionBase models will ship in the fall. They, too, are expected to be priced below the competition's, but the company also believes that such features as mainframe- class reliability and management tools also derived from mainframe technology will be strong selling points. Both companies market their products direct to big customers while also using distributors.

Production of digital video discs at PIONEER VIDEO MANUFACTURING, INC. in Carson, California is headed toward 1.5 million DVD-ROM (read-only memory) units a month by the end of the year as a result of new capacity already in operation and additional production lines scheduled to be in place soon. PIONEER ELECTRONIC CORP. is spending $10 million on the expansion and to add a custom DVD premastering studio capable of premastering more than 50 DVD titles each month. That addition allows Pioneer Video to do premastering, mastering, replication and packaging of DVDs under one roof. When all the work is done, the company will be one of the largest full-service DVD facilities in the United States.

An exchange rate of ¥140=$1.00 was used in this report.

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