A remarkable sign of the changing times around IBM is the news that Ask Computer Systems of Los Angeles has abandoned its development project to develop an IBM 4300 version of its ManMan manufacturing package – because it reckons that it no longer needs it. Ask has spent two years and over $1m on the development, because users were demanding a version on more powerful hardware – but in the interim the two manufacturers for whose machines ManMan is currently available, DEC and Hewlett-Packard, have both come out with much more powerful versions of the VAX and the HP3000 respectively, and Ask says that it no longer believes that the further $5m to $10m that would be needed to get the IBM version of ManMan out by the end of the year is justified.
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