Partners to the Core

After a long lull, there’s been a lot of action in the core router market
lately. With heavy movement under way by the likes of Cisco, Axiowave and Juniper,
electronics giant Hitachi and computer and network systems specialist
NEC Corp. dialed in to opportunities out east to spice up the game.

Cisco released its much-anticipated
“Huge Fast Router”,
and followed closely with its $89 million
of Procket Networks’ assets. Around the same time, Axiowave, a startup with deep pockets, launched
its core router to compete with Cisco, Juniper and other
heavy hitters.

Now, NEC and Hitachi announced they will launch a joint
venture in Japan in October, citing growing broadband demand in the country. The
companies will build backbone routers for telecom carriers,
government agencies and large corporations.

Since 2001, the Japanese government has been looking to make the nation more
competitive through IT. One of the goals of its “e-Japan initiative” is to
establish an advanced Internet network.

“There are emerging business opportunities in establishing new Internet
Protocol (IP)-based, network service infrastructure among telecom operators
and service providers,” said Isao Ono, Hitachi senior vice president and executive officer
said in a statement. “The trend is also seen on a global scale.”

The new company will be located in Tokyo with about 350 employees from both
companies. Hitachi will own 60 percent, and NEC will own 40 percent.

It will supply products to Hitachi and NEC, which will market them to their
individual clients. The yet-unnamed firm will also market its products
through its business partners under the new company’s own brand name.

Hitachi and NEC said the joint venture will produce high-end products in a
“timely manner”; however, the companies did not release timetables. A spokeswoman for NEC
was not immediately available for comment.

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