IBM, Acer announce $8B tech pact –

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's Acer Group and IBM today announced a seven-year procurement and technology pact valued at $8 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Acer will purchase hard drives, chips, networking and display technology from IBM for use in the Taiwan-based PC vendor's server, desktop and notebook computers, the two companies said in a statement today.

In addition, Acer has also agreed to sell IBM products, including hard drives, through its distribution channels, the statement said.

The two companies also said they will explore opportunities for further collaboration in areas such as IBM purchasing flat-panel screens manufactured by Acer and joint development of system-on-a-chip implementations based on IBM's PowerPC processor technology.

Acer and IBM may also collaborate on developing electronic-commerce solutions for Acer's core IT infrastructure as well as those of the Taiwanese company's key suppliers, the duo said.

The deal will build on and strengthen existing business relationships between the two companies, the companies said.

IBM's personal systems group, for example, already has a multi-billion-dollar agreement in place under which Acer Inc., the $6.7 billion group's PC-making parent company, manufactures PCs that are sold worldwide under the IBM brand.

Acer, meanwhile has already licensed technology from IBM in many key areas.

Last year, in a move designed to widen its product portfolio, the Taiwanese vendor's loss-making chip unit, Acer Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc., signed an agreement to license process technology from IBM in order to build logic chips.

In March of last year, another Acer unit, Acer Display Technologies Inc., announced it would license IBM's TFT-LCD (thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display) technology in a multiyear deal for use in notebook PCs and LCD monitors.

Clare Haney at the IDG News Service in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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