On Tue, 28 Jul 2020 20:27:44 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine Post by Questor Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry.
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
Where are the minicomputers from Data General, Wang, and Prime? Where are the
Apollo workstations and the Gateway PCs?
Didn't have enough locked in banking customers, I guess. Apollo was
selling Unix clone workstatsions and were sold to H-P for over $400M
which was a lot of money at the time. H-P merged them into their real
Unix workstation line.
NCR is a special case, sold itself to AT&T which did what big telcos
always do with acquisitions, mismanage it until it was worthless and
sell off the corpe for pennies. (Verizon is most of the way throught
that process with AOL and Yahoo.)
Bloody shame too. NCR was a decent enough outfit. I needed an update
ROM for one of their PCs once, I had the part number, was willing to
pay for it and everything. They didn't have a procedure for selling
it to me--had to go through an authorized dealer, the closest of which
was two hours and find-parking-in-Manhattan away. I called the phone
number on the 10-K and got the CEO's secretary, who referred me to the
"Corporate Ombudsman". I figured that was the end of that, but no, he
took down all the details and about two hours later the phone rings.
Female voice on the other end, in tones of someone on the verge of
tears. She asked me what I needed, I told her, and in very relieved
tones she exclaims "Oh, thank God, I can _do_ that!" and the next
morning FedEx arrived with the blasted ROM. Of course if they had had
a system in place to let me just order the thing they would have
gotten 25 bucks or whatever it was worth, and not wasted CEO secretary
time or corporate ombudsman time and wouldn't have had to terrorize
that poor woman who got the call from the ombudsman (she wasn't
someone I had talked to before).
Post by John Levine Post by Questor
Where are Wordstar, Wordperfect,
Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines...
Wordperfect is still around, owned by Corel, popular among lawyers.
IBM bought Lotus to get Notes and Domino, which was a good business
for many years. They sold it to Indian firm HCL in 2019. I found 1-2-3
a few years ago as shovelware on an IBM branded PC.
Pieces of Novell are still available from MicroFocus--their big
problem was that they tried to be Microsoft and did it just when
Windows and the Internet were hitting. Which would have been fine if
they had seen which way the market was going and jumped on it hard,
but they had their own protocol, IPX/SPX (which was actually a damned
good protocol--Netware networks were amazing performers for the time)
and dragged their feet on TCP/IP, and I'm not sure they _ever_ got a
native Windows client into the market--on Windows boxen the netware
driver was stacked on DOS. But they did put resources into buying
WordPerfect and the remains of Digital Research and hare-brained
scheme to port MacOS to x86 and Unix System Laboratories
I really liked NetWare. It only did one thing but it did it superbly
Post by John Levine
Post by Questor
It's not clear to me what Compaq was expecting to get from purchasing DEC. It's
obvious they weren't going to be making VAXes. The story I heard was that they
wanted DEC's support network. When in turn HP bought Compaq, it was also
extremely unlikely they would revive the VAX. Didn't/doesn't HP have their own
line of minicomputers? Why would they have brought back the VAX?
HP had PA-RISC which did OK and was supported until 2013. Then there
was Itanium which was an interesting idea that didn't work in
DEC was blindsided by the rise of LSI and single-chip computers. Their
failure was pretty spectacular but really only IBM survived the micro
transition in anything like recognizable form.