After a couple of very trying years since he jumped ship at Wang to take the helm at Computer Consoles Inc, Waltham, Massachusetts, chairman John Cunningham was in jaunty mood at the annual meeting in Boston last week. He reported that the telephone directory enquiries and Unix office systems company had successfully instituted a new marketing strategy, broadened its product line and implemented next generation research and development projects. Cunningham said the firm’s 1986 financial performance was substantially better than the years before and that the restructuring program initiated in 1985 was completed. We believe these results verify that Computer Consoles has reversed the downward trend of the last two years and has regained the path to healthy and profitable growth. Cunningham said the company’s strategic focus on indirect distribution permitted the company to grow while concentrating its direct sales efforts on large law firms, government agencies and select end-users. OEM customers had made commitments to the firm’s products for 1987, and were responsible for a significant percentage of new orders for the company’s Computer Products Division in the first quarter of this year. He noted that in order to penetrate foreign markets, sales offices had been established in Canada, the UK and Hong Kong. Worldwide, more than 73 office equipment and value-added resellers were now marketing the company’s Unix systems product line.
The traditional side of Computer Consoles’ business, now called the Communications Systems Division, also showed progress in 1986. Cunningham cited installations at MCI Communications and British Telecom – installed by STC Plc – and the delivery of a LIFE-911 emergency services system to Bell of Pennsylvania for the city of Philadelphia, as three significant projects in 1986. There had been regular additions to the minicomputer and supermicro product line throughout 1986, and developments of new products for introduction this year had been completed even in a year when cost containment was our corporate watchword. He said several of the company’s new computer products developed in 1986 and introduced last month, including Basic-K, a Unix-compatible compiler for users of the Wang 2200 System, offer a real alternative to users who have been locked into a closed system architecture. Against DEC, he claimed that the top-end Unix minis offered dramatic price/performance benefits compared with DEC’s VAX 8000 and IBM’s 9370 products. We now have a product line – hardware, software, communications capabilities – that competes strongly against the leading vendors in this industry. We believe our current products, ranging from a compact 1.2 MIPS processor to a 15 MIPS superminicomputer, and the most integrated office automation software available, will allow us to compete very effectively well into the next decade. For 1987, the company is looking to manage expenses very carefully and to work to strengthen all its different distribution channels, as well as continuing to enhance the product lines. The financial results in the first quarter of 1987 were substantially better than for the same period a year ago, and we expect to achieve continued growth in profits throughout the year, he concluded.