Storage management software vendor Softek has announced a management-led buyout of itself from parent company Fujitsu, making it a privately owned company called Softek Storage Solutions.
Softek CEO Steve Murphy said no layoffs are planned as a result of the split and company headquarters will remain in California. The financial terms of the agreement have not yet been disclosed.
"Frankly, now that we no longer have the Fujitsu logo, we have an opportunity to get into some OEM agreements with Fujitsu competitors," Murphy said "I can't imagine Sun Microsystems wanting to sign an OEM agreement with us while we were with Fujitsu, considering Fujitsu produced a Sun mainframe clone."
Larry Nelson, a mainframe systems programmer at 3M said he has been using Softek TDMF, Mainframe Edition to migrate data between his IBM mainframe systems for four years now and is relatively comfortable with the move by Softek.
"I don't see a problem with it, yet. I assume the guys I was working with when Softek was with Fujitsu will be the same ones I'll continue to work with," he said.
Fujitsu purchased Softek, then called Amdahl seven years ago for $850 million in order to produce storage management software to sell in its Asia-Pacific marketplace. Amdahl was renamed Softek three years ago and put out its first open systems storage management product, Softek Storage Manager, 18 months ago. Since then, it has grown to have more than 700 customers.
Amdahl, founded in 1979, produced the first IBM mainframe clone. Murphy said its mainframe software division, while still representing two-thirds of the company's sales, was melded with its open systems group while the company was owned by Fujitsu, something he now wants to correct by splitting the two divisions again.
The company announced that it has hired Herb Jones, who formerly worked at IBM in its Tivoli storage software group, to be general manager of its mainframe group. Karen Dutch, previously vice president of product management, will be general manager of its open systems group.
Murphy said his company's relationship with Fujitsu was always considered an incubation period for Softek to use Fujitsu's deep pockets for development purposes. Both management teams understood there would eventually be a split. "Fujitsu got an award-winning product and a return on investment for their development effort," Murphy said, referring to the Storage Manager product.
Nancy Marrone-Hurley, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, said she doesn't think growing Softek under the auspices of Fujitsu was a good business decision. "Being beholden to that company and administration to get approval to do things is going to hold you back," she said.
Softek's breakaway from Fujitsu allows it to refocus attention on the underserved, but growing, mainframe market, she said. "But you have to think that Fujitsu is still going to have a big stake in Softek."
Murphy said Fujitsu continues to be a strategic partner to Softek through a multi-year agreement for distribution of data availability and enterprise storage resource management software throughout the Asia-Pacific and Central Europe regions, but that's the extent of the relationship.
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