Fujitsu dropped the Amdahl Canada name Monday in the hopes that some brand recognition will be a shot in the arm for its server division.

Amdahl is probably best known for its mainframe products and has distribution agreements

in place with players like Sun Microsystems and EMC. The company also carries Fujitsu products like the Primergy line of Intel-based Windows servers, which until now were sold under the Amdahl brand.

“”The Amdahl name is being retired. We’re turning the page,”” said Tony Grice, president and general manager, Fujitsu Technology Solutions Canada Inc. Fujitsu bought Amdahl in 1997, but the timing was right to complete the transition, he added. The Fujitsu brand is well known in Asia-Pacific and parts of Europe, and Grice sees signs that the IT economy may finally be on the road to recovery.

“”Nothing is for sure, but the whole IT industry and the economy are kind of set to rebound. I think there’s some pent up demand. Many customers have not done a technology refresh, probably since Y2K,”” he said. “”We’re kind of counting on that to change in the next three to 12 months.””

Along with the name change, Fujitsu Technology Solutions Canada is introducing its Primepower servers to the Canadian marketplace, which have been sold in the U.S. for about two years and even longer overseas. Primepower is a Solaris-compatible SPARC-based server, which would compete with Hewlett-Packard’s HP-UX line, IBM’s eServers and Sun Microsystems’ Sun Fire.

The server space is already crowded, said IDC Canada Ltd. analyst Alan Freedman, and it could be a while before Fujitsu Technology Solutions Canada makes any inroads. Fujitsu only accounted for 0.5 per cent of the American RISC Unix server market last year. The trio of HP, IBM and Sun dominate that market with a combined 95 per cent share. In Canada, it’s a 97 per cent share.

IDC Canada didn’t keep track of Amdahl Canada server sales in 2002 because “”there are just a few units,”” said Freedman. “”In terms of getting in with a large installed base, it’s going to be tough sledding for them.

“”They have to decide why they’re successful in other parts of the world and what kinds of business problems they’re solving. They should probably pick and choose which of the attributes they want to transfer into the Canadian market.””

Grice plans to talk to his existing customers first to encourage them to move to a Fujitsu platform, to “”get established, get references and hopefully from there, it will grow.””

It will be at least two quarters until Fujitsu Canada is on the map, but the company’s competition could be insurmountable, said Freedman. “”I don’t plan to ever see huge volumes.””

Amdahl’s operations in Europe will probably be moved over to the Fujitsu name within the next month, according to Grice. This time l

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