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It is a pleasure to return "home" to my friends in the System z community, having previously worked in System z for over 17 years, and take on the role of IBM System z General Manager. I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the important role you play in the long-standing collaboration between IBM System z and the SHARE organization.

Together with the SHARE community, IBM continues to invest in the product and skills to ensure System z evolves to meet clients' changing needs. System z has addressed key IT infrastructure challenges -- consolidation, simplification, reduced cost, integration, virtualization and business application management -- long before they became popular to discuss under the banner of 'cloud' computing. We will continue to innovate and invest to extend System z's value across the heterogeneous environment of the data center.

This type of leadership is exactly why the top 50 banks worldwide and 22 of the top 25 U.S. retailers run on IBM System z. It's also why System z has nearly doubled share since 2000 (according to IDC in the > $250,000 server space), why MIPS shipped grew 25 percent last year, and why in the recent quarter it has grown by double digits (at constant currency) in emerging markets such as Brazil, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Wherever I go, I meet clients whose very business relies on System z. I'm very excited and optimistic about the future opportunity for System z, and look forward to working with all of you to ensure System z is relevant to our customers and the industry for at least another 45 years.