EMC puts store in partnerships

Anh-thu Phan

EMC, facing increasing competition from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Hitachi and Sun Microsystems in the multibillion-dollar market for devices that store Web pages and other information, last week announced initiatives it hopes will help maintain its lead as a supplier of storage hardware, software and services.

EMC said its long-time partner, database company Oracle, would form a separate business unit to help EMC develop and distribute new products. Total investment is expected to be in the tens of millions of US dollars.

In a separate development, EMC president and chief executive Michael Ruettgers said an alliance with Microsoft would be announced at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas in two weeks' time.

The storage company's sales in Asia grew 45 per cent in the most recent quarter. Mr Ruettgers said he expected the expansion to keep pace, as multinationals and Asian dotcom companies geared up to compete with rivals from around the globe. About 42 per cent of EMC's more than US$4 billion annual revenue comes from outside the United States and is expected to reach 50 per cent by 2002.

The company also announced last week the availability of its ControlCenter software, which EMC said would reduce downtime for e-commerce firms and other companies.

When the software detected high demand for information stored in the same location, it would 'cause the information to be split apart', avoiding congestion and possible Web site crashes, said James Rothnie, EMC's senior vice-president and chief marketing technical officer.

Following the lead of other e-commerce infrastructure companies that have used advertising campaigns to raise public awareness of their brands, EMC is to co-market with partners such as e-mail outsourcing company Critical Path and on-line toy retailer eToys.

EMC plans to spend up to $40 million annually on co-marketing, half of it outside the US.