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February 2, 1989

AMDAHL TO PAY $30m FOR UNIX, CPU DESIGN START-UP

By CBR Staff Writer

Amdahl Corp is expanding its commitment to Unix with definitive agreement to acquire two-year-old Key Computer Laboratories Inc, Dublin, California for $30m. Key was incorporated back in February 1987 by Thomas McWilliams and Jeffrey Rubin, two of the co-founders of Valid Logic Systems Inc, who were responsible for the development of its computer-aided design tools – and prior to that they worked on the S1 Mark 2 supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Their original plans for Key were to take on Cray Research Inc by applying 10,000 gate-per-chip ECL with gate delays down at around the 0.2nS level to create a Gigaflopper to sell for between $100,000 and $200,000. No such box has yet emerged from the company, and Amdahl says it believes the business is worth around $30m – to be paid in new Amdahl shares – for its original work in high-performance Unix systems and scalar mainframe technologies. Amdahl says that Key is doing complementary work with some of the technologies Amdahl is using in current product development work – various scalar computing disciplines and the application of VLSI ECL. Key, now in Fremont, employs 60 people, and also brings fresh insight into new design techniques that may interest Amdahl in the future.

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