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Marketing 235

compatible peripheral business. The 1980s saw failures by Information Storage Systems, Memorex, Storage Technology, Telex, etc. In place of the plug-compatible peripheral industry, a substantially larger disk-component industry has formed, based on IBM's Winchester technology, to serve the high-volume PC and workstation markets. Given the cost difference (as measured in cost per byte) between large and small disks, a strong disk add-on industry could reemerge in the 1990s to attack the high-margin part of the minicomputer and mainframe industries.

Cullinet. Cullinet was founded in the late 1970s by John Cullinane, an IBM salesman who started the firm to sell a distributed-database product created by one of his large customers. The company evolved to build products on a totally opportunistic basis to fill the niche in IBM's product line. It succeeded for a while selling its standards-oriented database before IBM's relational database became popular. Because a database system constitutes a predominant portion of a computer's operating system, IBM found it unacceptable to have such a key piece of its system built by another vendor. In 1989, Cullinet became part of Computer Associates, a large and successful company based on developing general-purpose software that it derived from specific solutions it had encountered in consulting for IBM users.

Amdahl Corp. Amdahl Corp. was founded in the early 1970s by Gene Amdahl to make high-performance IBM System/360s. Amdahl was formerly the head of an IBM laboratory that built a high-performance computer, but the laboratory was closed because IBM felt that the demand for, and profitability of, large systems was low and the development cost too high. During Amdahl's start-up, the technology took longer to develop than anticipated, requiring more funding. Fujitsu funded Amdahl in return for 49 percent of the company and for technology transfer in the form of training, CAD, gate arrays (derived from IBM-pioneered master slice), packaging, software, and manufacturing rights. When Amdahl entered the market, the cost of mainframe computing dropped by 40 percent and continued to decline at a rate of 15 percent per year. Previously, the cost had remained nearly constant.

Andor-Amdahl could do it again in the 1990s. In 1987, Gene Amdahl started a new company to build an IBM-compatible computer using complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) gate arrays. Andor's first deliveries are scheduled for 1991. The firm could be successful, unless IBM and the Japanese plug-compatibles (Fujitsu and Hitachi) switch to CMOS4 and sell lower-priced computers. A custom CMOS computer (microprocessor) would be significantly faster and cost significantly less than a gate-array version. When or whether such a chip could be built is anyone's guess.

 

4. Chapter 13 describes why the ECL-based products are doomed, except at the very highest performance.

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