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EMC Zips Lips on Tape

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) may be planning a tape product rollout for early summer, in a move that could reverse the company's official resistance to tape and significantly change the tape library market.

For months, there have been rumors about EMC planning a foray into tape, either by acquiring a company or OEMing technology but speculation has fizzled as regularly as it surfaced. Recently, though, the level of industry chatter has reached a new level, and at least two sources expect something to happen within the next few weeks.

"I think it's for real this time," says one financial analyst, who asked not to be quoted. "They may have a first offering in the May timeframe, followed by others after that." The analyst says there's been a lot of secrecy surrounding the potential rollout.

Word from this analyst and at least two others is that Advanced Digital Information Corp. (Nasdaq: ADIC) could be the first tape vendor to provide technology or an OEM'd product to EMC for rollout as part of its Clariion midrange line, though ADIC may be followed by other vendors, too.

EMC already has cooperative support agreements with ADIC and other tape vendors, including Silicon Storage Technology Inc. (SST) (Nasdaq: SSTI), and way back in 2001 it set up a resale partnership with Quantum Corp. (NYSE: DSS), whereby that vendor supplies tape libraries that are bundled with EMC's backup products.

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