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EMC Goes Soft

bit the bullet Monday, announcing a raft of software products that will manage other vendors' storage systems (see EMC Automates).

Dubbed AutoIS (Automated Information Storage), the software supports network devices and storage arrays from Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) , Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Wall Street analysts agree that stiff competition in the form of pricing pressure from HDS and IBM in particular has left EMC with no choice but to break out of its decade-long proprietary shell and work with the market rather than against it.

EMC isn't minimizing the importance of the move. Today marks the beginning of the most significant wave of new product introductions in EMC’s history,” said Joe Tucci, EMC’s CEO, during a conference call on Monday.

EMC has clearly been aware of the need for new software. According to its third-quarter financial report, storage software sales at EMC dropped 27 percent, to $243 million from $332 million in the year-ago quarter (see EMC Bombs Big-Time). The decline came as EMC's sales of storage systems, which include Symmetrix servers, dropped 59 percent.

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