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NEC punts 0% financing, deferred payments

Americans get cheaper iron loans

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Under the zero per cent financing or 120-day deferred payment deals, customers in the US can finance NEC's SigmaBlade blade servers, its Express5800/100 rack servers, Express5800/300 fault tolerant servers, and Express5800/A1160 high-end servers (all x64 boxes); the financing can also be used on its D-Series SAN storage arrays and its Hydrastor backup and archive grid storage. The financing is not available on NEC's Express5800/1320Xf and Express5800/1080Rf Itanium-based servers. Both financing options expire on December 31.

By the way, NEC Corporation of America might be based in Irving, Texas, but this part of the Japanese giant actually covers the US and Canada. As such, customers buying NEC servers and storage in Canada should ask for the same generous financing that the U.S. customers to the south are getting.

In recent years, NEC has been ramping up its presence in the American server market, both directly and through its partnerships with Stratus Technologies for fault-tolerant servers and with Unisys for high-end enterprise servers. The company announced in January that it was cutting 20,000 jobs to stop the haemorrhaging of red ink at the company, and shuttered its European PC business and outsourced its European server business shortly thereafter. In May, NEC pulled out of the high-profile $1.2bn Project Keisoku, a government-backed Japanese supercomputer that was to have Fujitsu do Sparc scalar processors and NEC and Hitachi collaborate on vector processors for a hybrid parallel super that scaled to the tens of petaflops. In July, Fujitsu took over the entire Keisoku effort and will build a machine just using Sparc64 processors.

Getting a bigger piece of the North American server and storage pie is one of the things that NEC desperately wants as it seeks to boost its top and bottom line. But business is tough here in the States, and the indigenous vendors and their resellers are keen on protecting their turf. To put it bluntly, IBM and HP are bigger banks than NEC is, are in better financial shape, and have the lion's share of customers here in North America.

This will be a tough slog at best for NEC. But customers will win just from the increased competition, and the NEC machines can hold their own against whatever IBM, HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems, and Fujitsu can put into the field. ®

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