Tandem Computer has launched a database software - NonStop - that will enable users to process large and complex files on the Windows NT platform. The release marked a change in direction for the company as it revealed a strategy that will shift its key focus from mainframes to software. Tandem built its reputation on enabling databases to process simultaneous commands and for building systems that did not crash. NonStop software will allow those two main qualities to be adopted by cheaper server computers as well as Tandem mainframes. Tandem chief executive Roel Pieper said: 'Our mission is to take this technology and make it widely available . . . to businesses of any size.' The company's new philosophy was described as 'more Tandem to more people'. The firm said it would achieve this by making its products available on open and multiple platforms. 'We are extending NonStop to any environment, any business and to other people's programs,' Mr Pieper said. Among the new product lines is the NonStop SQL/ MX database. It features advanced query techniques and NonStop Tuxedo middleware which handles transaction processing suitable for banks, retailers and Internet purchases. The line also has an offering for Java environments, the NonStop Server for Java, conformed with the JavaSoft 1.1.1 development kit. As part of its new strategy, Tandem has entered into partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Unisys to develop Tandem technology for the Windows NT environment. Mr Pieper admitted he had criticised Microsoft in the past, only to see Windows NT surge in popularity among business clients. He acknowledged his situation, saying: 'You either decide to fight it or join it.' He said the move to make Tandem's fault-free technology more affordable to businesses also was fuelled by the number of companies going on-line and their need to accumulate data. The company said its NonStop systems were cheaper to operate, a third of the cost of a Unix-clustered database configuration. Mr Pieper said IBM's Unix platform would be used in a Tandem product to be released this summer. 'What we are doing with Unix is taking it into the telco industry,' he said. He added IBM's Unix platform and Tandem's Himalaya servers made an ideal team for clients in the telecommunications industry. Tandem has predicted that the telecommunications and banking industries would be its biggest growth areas in the Asia-Pacific region. The company, whose products are used in 90 per cent of the world's stock exchanges and 80 per cent of the world's ATM machines, is involved in pilot projects on the mainland aimed at creating a nationwide payment system. The company is a partner in a four-year-old joint-venture development company in China. Mr Pieper said 200 of the 300 staff employed at the venture in Shanghai were working on Windows NT applications.