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October 31, 1988

AT&T WINS THE US AIR FORCE PACT

By CBR Staff Writer

AT&T Co is the winner of the controversial US Air Force Small Systems Acquisition contract for up to 20,000 workstations where DEC and Wang Laboratories withdrew from the bidding after the Air Force confirmed its insistance on the Unix System V Interface Defintion (CI No 802). The contract is initially valued at $929m over two years, but AT&T believes it could reach $4,500m over eight years if options are taken up. It is on a par with the contract won by AT&T for similar systems for the National Security Agency, and confirms that the US government does not share the doubts about AT&T’s 3B machines that are rife in the commercial market. Unsuccessful bidders were IBM, Zenith Electronics Corp with its new multi-processor 80386 machine, Planning Research Corp, Honeywell Inc and Lockheed Corp. The box to be supplied is the 3B2/600, with disks from Imprimis Technology Inc – CDC – and networking equipment from TRW Inc. Bidding was so fierce that tags were cut 70% during the process and the Air Force was able to get a very good price: it initially expected to have to pay $3,500m for the machines. The contract is a significant victory for AT&T in its battle with the Open Software Foundation to get Unix V regarded as the true Unix.

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