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EMC, IBM Are Talking Swap

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) -- two of the fiercest rivals in the storage industry -- may be close to reaching an agreement on exchanging application programming interfaces (APIs), which would allow them to manage each other's storage systems, according to a Wall Street analyst.

If the two vendors do reach an agreement to swap APIs, it would mean dtente for a conflict that has simmered for years.

Each side has pointed the finger at the other to explain the impasse. "We are perfectly willing to do API swaps," Clod Barrera, director of technical strategy for storage in IBM's Systems Group, told Byte and Switch last month. "We have been unable to reach any kind of agreement with EMC." EMC, meanwhile, has said IBM is the one dragging its feet (see EMC 'Wishes' for IBM).

Now they may be ready to call a truce. Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Jason Ader, citing a "reliable industry source," says IBM and EMC are in advanced API swap talks, with an agreement possible in a matter of weeks.

"The absence of cooperation between IBM and EMC in the storage management software space has been notable, especially now that EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) have agreed on an API swap," he says. "This makes an IBM-EMC deal the last necessary step to open up APIs among all four top storage array vendors -- IBM, EMC, HP, and HDS."

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