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  • Japan’s Solution Providers Enhance Linux Support System
  • February 24, 1999 (TOKYO) — Database products and application programs that run on Linux are being launched in rapid succession in Japan, prompting solution providers to set up support systems.
    Oracle8 for Linux, slated for release in March, will be watched to monitor the future of the Linux market. The Oracle database management system holds a big share in the UNIX and Windows NT database market, and lots of business application packages are running on the system.

    Shigefumi Wada, president of OBIC Business Consultant Co., Ltd. (OBC), a leading business package vendor, said, “We have already heard users and sales shops requesting Linux-based services. Accounting software for the UNIX version of Oracle is slated for release in the fall of this year at the earliest. I think it will have to be designed to also handle Linux.”

    An Oracle Corp. Japan spokesman said, “We are confident that when Oracle8 for Linux is released in March this year, many business application package vendors will support the Linux version.” The company added that it has already received a request to replace hundreds of departmental servers worth 100 million yen (US$835,000).

    Otsuka Shokai Co., Ltd. had left the Linux business to its subsidiary, 10art-ni Corp. But, in October 1998 it organized a UNIX technical support team consisting of 15 UNIX system engineers who had been stationed in different divisions within the company. The company started Linux support in December 1998.

    Otsuka Shokai has not yet decided whether it should make Linux sales in the future. The company said the proper timing will not come until the business packages are ready and service needs, including customization and operation support, exceed a certain level.

    Naoyuki Yoshida, president of Top Management Service Inc., a solution provider handling the OBC products, said, “OBC is scheduled to release accounting software for the Windows NT version of Oracle in June. We intend to use it to build a Linux-based system and launch the business ahead of competitors. This will slash the operating system cost, and will enable us to sell the products easily to small- and medium-scale companies.”

    If the company takes no action, but make sales simply by reducing the operating system price, it would lose the service price calculated on the basis of hardware and package prices. As a consequence, solution providers will sell their products at a set price, including the support and service.

    Yokogawa Rental & Lease Corp. (YRL), a sales agency of Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd. (HP Japan), is such a company. Since December 1998, YRL has incorporated software such as Linux, free Web server and file server in HP Japan’s PC server dubbed NetServer LC3 and sold it for 1,446,000 yen (US$12,000), including support. About one third of the price is for service, YRL said.

    When a request for Linux-related items is found in business plans handled by HP Japan’s direct sales team, YRL will follow up the request.

    Hitachi Software Engineering Co., Ltd. plans a business one step ahead of the set sales bundled with the service. The company began to menu and offer the Linux-based system integration support services in January 1999.

    Hitachi Software Engineering has established a system which allows its Linux technical support department to make any kind of system proposals for Linux in cooperation with the sales and system design departments. In parallel, the company is studying how to run Web-based applications under Linux.

    It plans to gain a revenue of a bit less than 100 million yen (US$835,000) from the total of the Linux-related hardware, software and services in fiscal 1998 (March settlement term), and aims at a one billion yen turnover in fiscal 1999.

    While solution providers proceeding with measures for Linux businesses are increasing, leading hardware makers such as NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. are being careful about handling Linux business.

    One package vendor said the reason is they dislike breaking the cooperative relationship with Microsoft Corp.

    Further details will be available in the Feb. 19 issue of Nikkei Watcher on IT Business (in Japanese).

    Related stories:
    Linux Products Roll Out for Japanese Corporate Users
    Oracle Japan Moves Forward Shipment Date of Linux Oracle8
    Linux Surfaces As Alternative to Windows NT

    (Nikkei Watcher on IT Business)



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