DEC, Microsoft tighten NT links

Unfazed by Monday's Compaq merger announcement, Digital and Microsoft geared up their long-standing Windows NT alliance yesterday.

Declaring the Alliance for Enterprise Computing, the firms said they would jointly develop a 64-bit Alpha version of Windows NT and scale NT to work on 32-CPU and 64-CPU SMP super servers. There will also be some strengthening of the existing cooperation in selling Microsoft Exchange.

Both firms said that that the pairing had been a resounding success.

In a live telecast from the US, Digital chairman Robert Palmer said: "[Many companies] might talk about ups and downs but we have only had ups." Palmer claimed that Digital shipments leapt 94 per cent in the last quarter.

Also on a live video feed, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates described "a fantastic success".

"It's a deep-rooted alliance that's not based on talks, it's based on actions and results. This is a very broad alliance. It's a technology alliance. It's a go-to-work alliance. Digital was willing to bet on Microsoft Exchange and Windows NT early on when it was just coming into the market place."

Both firms said that Digital's pending merger with Compaq will have no effect on the agreement.

"This alliance and the combination of Compaq, Digital and Tandem will give us the competitive edge to deliver Windows NT solutions," said John Rose, Compaq senior vice president and general manager.

Digital UK general manager Chris Conway also took time out to discuss the implications of the Compaq buyout.

"It will require four, five, six months to get through. We really are in the hands of the bureaucrats. We will continue to compete vigorously with Compaq. What Compaq brings is financial muscle. They have marketing momentum, they have a [powerful] marketing machine and strong manufacturing and logistics chain. That is not to say there won't be some elimination of the duplications, but it will not be as severe as you would expect. The decisions are not yet made. The great thing for us and them is there isn't much overlap."

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