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February 10, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Olivetti SpA and Lee Data Corp have merged their UK efforts in the 3270 and IBM communications market, with Olivetti taking 51% of the new UK subsidiary which reports directly to British Olivetti. The two companies have both been selling directly in the UK, with the Olivetti managing director Paolo Tosi, describing his sales as opportunistic, and without a mission, whereas the smaller efforts of Lee Data International have been more structured. The new company will take over most of the sales for the Lee Data product range, although its own micros will be dropped in favour of Olivetti machines. The new company, Olivetti-Lee Data, will sell the Lee series of 3270 terminal products, incorporating asynchronous as well as IBM standard communications, with a single terminal linking to up to four IBM hosts and multiple asynchronous hosts simultaneously. This is the first of several joint venture planned by the two for Europe – Germany will follow by year-end and the other countries thereafter. The announcement signals the end of Lee’s own line of IBM Personalikes: Lee admitted that eventually, even in the US, it will sell Olivetti’s personal computers; they anyway account for only 5% of turnover. Olivetti’s OEM business has been 20% to 25% of turnover. The new firm will start with 30 staff, growing to 42% by the end of the year. All UK support will transfer to the 1,000-strong Olivetti maintenance arm that just won Barclays Bank (CI No 863). The agreement is similar to one Olivetti pioneered in its 51%-49% relationship with Decision Data in Europe.

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