Microsoft Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. are expanding an existing global systems integration alliance to work together on software and hardware for mission-critical systems, the two companies announced Monday.

Under the alliance, the companies will collaborate on the development of Fujitsu servers based on Intel Corp.’s Itanium processors and Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 and next-generation operating system code-named Longhorn and work on improving interoperability between their respective software applications. Fujitsu will also place engineers in Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus and integrate .Net into its Triole software suite.

“We are taking our global alliance to the next frontier, beyond enterprise computing and into mission-critical computing,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, speaking at a news conference in Tokyo. “This has been a core business for Fujitsu for many years and is an emerging part of Microsoft’s business.”

The first system developed as a result of the new alliance will be an Itanium-based server available in the first half of the next calendar year, said Fujitsu.

“This announcement is going to play a very important milestone in our strategy,” said Naoyuki Akikusa, chairman of Fujitsu. “Intel is developing next-generation mission-critical servers and Microsoft is looking at Windows Server 2003 and the anticipated Longhorn operating system, and with those systems we hope to provide templates for mission-critical platforms for our customers. This is the third alliance with Microsoft and they have all been successful,” he said.

Fujitsu hopes to see worldwide revenue of

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