Stratus Forges NEC Deal, Pushes Out of Niche

BOSTON (06/28/2000) - Stratus Computer DE has begun licensing its fault-tolerant server technology, initially by forging a deal with NEC Corp., in a move to push itself into the mainstream.

The company officially made the announcement Tuesday, followed by a press conference Wednesday to detail the new strategy, which also includes a name change. Stratus, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, is a subsidiary of Stratus Computer Systems S.a.r.l. The parent company, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, will be changing its name to Stratus Technologies to reflect the move to licensing intellectual property as well as supplying fault-tolerant servers, said Steve Kiely, president and chief executive officer of Stratus.

"For all of our strengths, Stratus is a niche player," Kiely said, speaking from Tokyo. Part of the reason for that is that the company's fault-tolerant servers have been "premium" priced. As Stratus' market has expanded into the mainstream, though, the time has arrived for the company to break out of its niche, he said.

The company began doing that when it recently introduced its ftServer server line for Windows 2000, he said. The licensing initiative is another step in that direction.

NEC announced that its new Express5800 fault-tolerant servers will employ Stratus technology and be available in one- or two-way configurations, with base prices around US$15,000. NEC also has made a $10 million minority equity investment in Stratus.

NEC's new servers, slated to ship in October, will employ a dual modular redundancy configuration, with duplexed CPUs, memory, I/O units, disk drives, power units and fans, NEC said.

Stratus intends to ink deals with other leading makers of computers that use Intel Corp. processors and support the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, who will then have the right to use Stratus technology in their own products.

The initiative will focus on the top 10 computer vendors, Kiely said. As part of this effort, the company has started a new intellectual property licensing group operating under the name 24-7 Technologies, he said.

Stratus, in Maynard, can be reached at +1-978-461-7000 or http://www.stratus.com/. NEC, in Tokyo, is at http://www.nec.co.jp/.

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