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Fujitsu, Microsoft Unite To Take Cloud Computing Global

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Fujitsu Ltd. (FJTSY, 6702.TO) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will share data centers worldwide in a bid to catch up to Google Inc. (GOOG) and other pioneers in the business of providing software and computing services online, the Nikkei reported Friday.

The effort will combine Microsoft software with Fujitsu customer service to speed both firms’ expansion into cloud computing.

Fujitsu operates 90 or so data centers in 16 countries. As early as this year, it will begin hosting Microsoft cloud services at its Tatebayashi center in Gunma Prefecture. It plans to do the same at locations in the U.S., the U.K., Singapore and elsewhere, equipping them with the necessary technology. In deciding to work with Microsoft, Fujitsu acknowledges that its own cloud services have limited prospects for growth abroad.

Microsoft is racing to expand its cloud services worldwide, having opened massive data centers in Chicago and Dublin last year. But the U.S. firm has been stretched thin in customer support and other areas and will seek to reinforce them in cooperation with Fujitsu. Microsoft also believes that teaming with Fujitsu will help it make customers of globalizing Japanese companies.

The partners are considering joint investment in new data centers, which cost tens of billions of yen to build.

Microsoft this January introduced Windows Azure, which gives businesses Internet-based access to Windows software stored at Microsoft data centers instead of on their own computers. Through its partnership with Microsoft, Fujitsu will try to tap this base of Windows users.

Salesforce.com, a leader in cloud services, has about 77,000 customers worldwide, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. Google invested around 700 billion yen in its cloud computing business from 2006 to 2009. Among its customers in Japan is toilet manufacturer Toto Ltd. (5332.TO).

Both firms are pushing more aggressively into Japan, threatening domestic information technology giants. Fujitsu will seek to counter this challenge by working with Microsoft to build a global presence in cloud computing.

The world market for cloud computing will grow to $55.5 billion in 2014 from $16 billion in 2009, reckons U.S. research firm IDC. Japan’s IT industry is hampered by its inability to offer the same level of cloud services worldwide even as more domestic firms globalize.

Full Source: The Wall Street Journal

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