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February 21, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

VM Software Inc’s decision to rename itself Systems Center Inc (CI No 1,115) does not reflect any decrease in commitment to its VM customers. The intention is to reinforce the Reston, Virginia-based company’s expansion into a number of new markets with a general name, which will mean a lot more to customers than it used to. This was the essence of the message delivered by senior vice-president of international operations, Gene Riechers, during a recent stop-over in London. A rapid series of acquisitions lie behind the corporate revamp. In October 1988 (CI No 937), the then VM Software bought The Systems Center, Irving, Texas for $14m. In the last 10 days (CI No 1,111), the company finalised negotiations to acquire Waltham, Masschusetts based DB View Inc for $3.9m. And in the autumn of last year, it also gained marketing rights to a range of products developed by International Business Link of Marina del Rey, California. On the strength of these deals, the newly named company plans to pursue four separate product strategies, Reichers explained. In addition to its original VM Data Centre Management offerings, Systems Center will market and support the eponymous subsidiary’s Network Data Mover product family, designed to transfer large volumes of data between processors. Versions are currently available for systems running under MS-DOS, VM, and the Tandem Guardian operating system, with a Unix version on its way. Third comes relational database products, specifically VM Software’s proprietary SQL/DS report, table edit and reorganisation tools, and DB View’s DB2-based security, auditing and optimising products. Finally, the company will target the network administration market with International Business Link’s Net Edit productivity tools. Using these tools, system programmers can transfer assembler-like code from a mainframe to an MS-DOS micro, and use the Net Edit graphics to produce and maniupulate images of existing or projected networks. Meanwhile, clearly fully recovered from the 1987 setbacks inflicted by the 9370 flop, the company has another $20m in cash and an unspecified amount of stock, to lavish on further acquisitions. It says it is looking actively in the US and Europe to acquire appropriate products, companies or marketing rights. Currently, products running on 9370s account for just under 7% of its installed customer base, with low end 3090s and old 4300s – 4341 and so forth – clocking up 10% and 8% respectively. The remaining 75% covers 4381s, and – presumably – a number of 308Xs. 1988 was a successful year, particularly in Europe, where 90% of VM’s $13.7m international turnover was generated, Reichers concluded.

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