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(Japanese Site)

  • New Fujitsu President to Challenge IBM in Services
  • April 13, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Fujitsu Ltd. plans to leverage its high-quality services to take on top rival IBM Corp.
    Fujitsu executive vice president Naoyuki Akikusa told Nikkei Computer in an interview. Akikusa will be appointed president at Fujitsu's Board of Directors' meeting in June.

    Akikusa said IBM Corp. is successful in the services sector, adding that the U.S. giant is the world's top enterprise in the computer field and a Fujitsu rival.

    The interview follows.

    Nikkei Computer: How are your company's profits in the software and services sector?

    Akikusa: In the domestic market, I feel I can boast about our profit record. Of course, I can't say I'm satisfied with it. But I am convinced that we Japanese are at the top of the world when it comes to the quality of services.

    No other country in the world has companies that can offer services as meticulous and precise as do Japanese enterprises. I want to emphasize this quality strongly. However, the Japanese tend to depend too heavily on technical experts, and I feel we need to learn systematic ways of doing business from the United States.

    Compared with hardware and semiconductor businesses, which tend to be high-risk and high-return, the services industry is low-risk and low-return. All of our competitors are racking their brains dealing with problems in the business.

    We will keep on improving our service systems by fostering human resources, streamlining information infrastructure and joining hands with outside concerns without falling behind other companies.

    Nikkei Computer: Outgoing company President Sekizawa said one of the reasons why he chose you as his successor is that you are a man of foresight. How do you evaluate yourself in that sense?

    Akikusa: When I became a member of the board of directors, I predicted that by the year 2000, the software/services sector will be the core of our business. The result is that we have managed to realize that sooner than I expected.

    When our "Propose" service was put on the market, we were criticized by the media for making it a pay service, as it had been offered free of charge. Today, we are the only company (in Japan) selling service goods in earnest. Once we decide on something, we keep doing it steadily. That's what is good about our company. "Propose" has grown into a fine source of profits.

    In the consolidated settlement of accounts for fiscal year 1996, our software/service sales amounted to about 1.28 trillion yen (US$9.6 billion). We hope to bring that amount to 2 trillion yen ($15 billion) as soon as we can. I'm sure we'll accomplish that goal while I am serving as president.

    Nikkei Computer: What are some of the problems facing Fujitsu? What are the strong points?

    Akikusa: We have quite a few problems, but that's what makes business interesting. First of all, we have to make the company sound and healthy financially. Globalization, including with ICL Plc. of Britain and Amdahl Corp. of the United States, is another task.

    We also have a number of strong points, but in a word, we have great many customers. That's why our sales people, system engineers, customer engineers, and even those who work in the plants do everything they can to support customers.

    Our employees deliver the products of Sun Microsystems Inc. or Microsoft Corp. to customers with services. We are in direct contact with customers.

    Nikkei Computer: Who are your rivals?

    Akikusa: It's presumptuous to say so, but IBM is our rival. The media used to write derogatory stories about IBM, but we must admit IBM is at the top of the world. I think that company, with the development of the services sector, is like a star shining in the sky.

    Related story: Fujitsu Names New President

    (Nikkei Computer)

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    Updated: Sun Apr 12 15:31:14 1998