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September 20, 1998

ACORN DROPS NEW PC AND LOOKS TO DIGITAL TV

By CBR Staff Writer

Acorn Group Plc has dropped plans to launch a new version of its proprietary desktop, the Risc PC 2, though it will continue to supply the existing range, the company said last week. Given that sales of Risc-based PCs and other traditional products fell by two-thirds in the first half of the current financial year (CI No 3,475), the move was inevitable. A new mood of realism has taken over at Acorn since its then CEO and three senior staff quit in June (CI No 3,434). New CEO Stan Boland has started a 1m pound reorganization that will cut staff numbers from 175 to 100, though it will be sales and marketing people rather than engineers who will be going out of the door. The company is now focused principally on the digital TV market – though thin clients still feature in its plans. Acorn’s mantra is that it has moved from being a product supplier to technology provider. It has however still to prove it can make money in its new incarnation. Acorn’s ability to create very fast and powerful silicon and software designs for some of the worldÆs leading companies is increasingly being acknowledged, says Boland. For the moment, the main attraction of the company are not its ambitious plans but the fact that its owns 130m pounds worth of shares in Arm Holdings Plc.

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