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Intel Inside?

Unisys and NEC had a fairly low-key announcement last week of a technology alliance that will see the two companies blending efforts to advance their lines of servers, software, and integrated packages. It's certainly not a merger, but it is a merging, if you will, that could well create some real synergy by advancing each companies' existing platforms and their R&D.

Key to the agreement is the server area. The two companies plan to create a common high-end Intel-based server platform; both Unisys and NEC are long-time players in the high end of servers, and the agreement should give them some defense against commodity servers that can increasingly be used in clusters to achieve many of the effects of mainframes and other high-end machines. Unisys will bring the market share, NEC the manufacturing, they'll pool research, and the target will be Windows- and Linux-based platforms, so they could reach a good swath of the market.

But what's really interesting is the focus on Intel as the processor base throughout the announcement. Specifically, the Unisys announcement pointed to the two companies' R&D efforts also finding their way into Unisys's ClearPath line, which has been based around proprietary processors. If Unisys intends to migrate that line to an Intel base, it could make those more attractive to CIOs who want their operations on a common (and presumably less expensive) base. That'd be more defense against cluster-based competition, too.