IT giant opens for business

Fujitsu Siemens Computers started business last Friday, fulfilling a commitment to bring together the firms' computer hardware operations. The Japanese and German companies will emphasise the joint venture's European status and technology ownership in an attempt to become the number one supplier in Europe.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers started business last Friday, fulfilling a commitment to bring together the firms' computer hardware operations. The Japanese and German companies will emphasise the joint venture's European status and technology ownership in an attempt to become the number one supplier in Europe.

Fujitsu Siemens will be headquartered in the Netherlands but most sales and marketing activity will be based in Germany. That European structure will be highlighted in an advertising campaign that starts this month. Product lines will be continued "until the end of their lifecycles" when decisions will be made on product plans, said Alan Norman, UK marketing director for Siemens Computer Systems.

On Friday a new line of Celsius workstations will be unveiled. Other lines will follow in the next three months.

"It's the only [major] European PC company," said Tetsuo Urano, Fujitsu Computers Europe chairman. "European customers deserve to have a European focus."

Urano added that currency convergence could drive companies to take on a more pan-European identity.

"We do a lot of work on local configurations," he said. "There are many companies that are not Europe-based but have some parts in Germany, some in France, some in the UK, and they all need different keyboards and different drivers to be configured. As European integration occurs they are planning centralised procurement."

Urano suggested that new developments in computer designs would suit companies that spend heavily on manufacturing and development.

"The notebook PC has different form factors that require the development of components such as LCD screens, motherboards, keyboards, cases and cooling," he said. "I envision desktop PCs will become more high-tech and will have the computer capability behind an LCD panel so PC makers will either have this miniature technology in place or they cannot compete," he added.

Urano said the past 20 years of the PC has allowed "screwdriver-and-glue" operations to start from a garage, but firms in Europe are now tied to the Net and want more multimedia capability. He said it is likely that Fujitsu Siemens will eventually pull in skills in telecoms, networking and services from other parts of Siemens and Fujitsu.

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