Microsoft and Japan's Fujitsu have agreed on a partnership in global cloud computing, where data and programmes are stored on servers that are accessed online rather than on users' computers.
The lower-cost concept, where clients can save by installing less powerful computers and less memory, has grown in popularity during the economic downturn and also thanks to higher Internet speeds.
Under the tie-up, Fujitsu will deploy the Windows Azure platform in its data centres, starting at its Tatebayashi centre near Tokyo by the end of 2010, to be followed by other locations around the world.
"Through this alliance, we are providing our customers with a new array of possibilities in cloud computing," said Kazuo Ishida, corporate senior executive vice president for Fujitsu's ICT Services Business.
"Our partnership with Microsoft truly reflects Fujitsu's cloud strategy and will no doubt break new ground in contributing to the creation of an IT-networked society."
Fujitsu said Friday it aimed to generate 1.5 trillion yen (17 billion dollars) in revenue from its global cloud computing business by March 2016, making it a cornerstone of its strategy.
Japan's biggest IT service provider will invest 100 billion yen this financial year in cloud-related business, up 54 percent from the previous year, and will train 5,000 engineers by 2012, president Masami Yamamoto said.
Fujitsu in April said it would expand its cloud computing platform to five locations outside Japan by March 2011: Australia, Britain, Germany, Singapore and the United States.
The company recently set up a data centre in China which will begin operating next year.
Fujitsu expects revenue from cloud computing of 45 billion yen this year, more than double the previous year.