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Technology / AI and automation

3COM EYES EURO MANUFACTURE AFTER BRIDGE BUY

Managing director of 3Com UK Ian Milne has resigned following conclusion of the company’s merger with Bridge Communications and appointment of Bridge Communications UK managing director Joe Molloy as head of UK operations. Bridge president and chief operating officer Bill Carrico becomes president and chief operating officer of the new company under 3Com’s Bill Krause, chairman and chief executive. The combined company aims for sales of $250m in its first year, around 10% of a projected worldwide local area networking market of $1,850m. This compares with combined sales of $187m for 1987. Only 8.7% of the 10m personal computers worldwide are networked, says 3Com vice president of European operations Roger Higgins. The number of personal computers expected to be used in 1992 is 30m according to Dataquest in a market that is growing at about 27% per annum. The combined forces of the two companies will now drive the combination up from personal computer networking on the 3Com side and heavy protocol conversion in gateways on the Bridge side into corporate networking. 3Com will maintain the two separate distribution channels. It also plans to set up a European software and support centre by mid-1988 with sub assembly of hardware and manufacturing at a later date. The choice of location has not yet been decided but in terms of management experience the UK looks a likely contender. The new company aims to co-develop products in the future as well as following their own product development projects; 3Com is currently beta testing support for TCP/IP and ISO protocols in its 3+ operating software and is working on further Macintosh enhancements, while Bridge will soon release a 68020-based gateway and servers as well as bridges aimed at the T-1 market. Bridge and 3Com intend to draw their UK operations under one building, probably in Maidenhead. 3Com recognises that it will probably need to form more alliances of one kind or another to address the more specific protocol standard demands that sets the European market aside from the US market – European expertise on X400 massaging, for example.

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CBR Staff Writer

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