Fujitsu Aims to Streamline U.S. Sales

Until recently, customers in North America had a maze to go through when trying to buy Fujitsu products.

Until recently, customers in North America had a maze to go through when trying to buy Fujitsu products. If they wanted a Stylistic tablet PC or an Intel Corp.-based Primergy server, they would have to talk with a representative from Fujitsu PC Corp. Need a high-end Solaris-based PrimePower server? Theyd call Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc.

That changed Oct. 1, when parent company Fujitsu Ltd. merged the two North American operations, creating Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. The goal: to streamline and simplify things for customers, according to officials with the combined company.

"We think its time to bring to IT people in the United States a one-stop shop," Dennis Mull, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Fujitsu Computer Systems, said in an interview with eWEEK.

Mull and CEO Toshio Morohoshi said the new company will continue to be focused on creating quality products—and to have the bulk of those products built in Japan—even if it means pricing higher than competitors such as Dell Inc. The company may not always get every account, but Fujitsu is able to keep the customers they do get, Morohoshi said.

"We can compete head-to-head with Dell on quality, but not on pricing," Morohoshi said. "We cannot just buy market share. But we do need market share. Quality is the differentiator."

While price may play a role in initial discussions, it usually isnt the only aspect on which businesses make their IT decisions, Morohoshi said.

"Even if is $100 more expensive, if you lose two hours [due to system downtime], that $100 is gone," he said.

The new company, which has about 1,200 employees in the United States and Canada, also will be able to roll out a much broader line of products than the two separate companies did. Fujitsu Computer Systems now can offer high-end Unix systems, including PrimePower servers running Solaris and powered by the companys own SPARC-compatible processors. At the same time, it offers the Intel servers, and several lines of tablet PCs and notebooks. Mull said the company is keeping its focus squarely on the enterprise IT space.

In addition, Morohoshi said the company also is looking at rolling out high-end Intel and Linux-based systems in 2005. Mull said the company has an internal Linux project currently underway.

"This is an emerging market, and you are going to have to be in the Linux business, in the Unix business and in the Windows business … to survive," Mull said.

Regarding recent news reports of a deal brewing between Fujitsu Ltd. and Sun in which the two companies would partner on server manufacturing and development of the SPARC chip technology, both Morohoshi and Mull said that, at this point, it was nothing more than media speculation based on a single report in a Japanese business journal. According to the report, a deal could be announced by the end of the year.

"Sun and Fujitsu have been talking for years; we license some of their technology," Morohoshi said. "Nothing in the partnership has changed."