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November 8, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Uniplex Ltd, the Unix office software company sold by Birmingham-based IMI Plc to Californian firm CP Software Group in July has released V8 of its Uniplex Business Software. Nothing in UBS V8, however, has come from the company’s new owners, though work has started on bringing into the next release of Uniplex Business Software, due out in mid-1995, some of the technology CP Software bought last year, including the document analysis tools from Australian company Intext. The main enhancements in UBS V8 are the inclusion of the Informix v5 database as standard; improved word processing capabilities, with on-screen preview of documents; better mail features; and the ability to run Uniplex’s OnGo technology as a client from Uniplex Business Software. A five-user licence for UBS V8 is UKP1,200, and the software is available now for HP-UX, AIX, Santa Cruz Operation Inc Unix and Data General Corp’s AViiON. The optional link to OnGo Office is targeted at large organisations that want to tie in their character-based terminal Uniplex Business Software users to become part of the larger office network. OnGo itself, on which Uniplex has been concentrating for the past two years, has now been given a lower priority in the scheme of things, according to business unit manager Johnnie Summerfield. The product’s Write, Paint and Draw features have already been ditched and replaced with similar features from Island Graphics, another CP Software acquisition, and Uniplex has started selling the Island products alongside its existing product range. The company, now down to 150 people after the takeover from its previous level of 320, is officially based in Redwood City, California, but its main office, employing 100 staff, is still in the UK, in Hemel Hempstead, under general manager Patrick Register, formerly managing director of Uniplex Ltd. Worldwide, Uniplex now claims 1.5m users, of whom 60% are in Europe, with the UK accounting for about a third of its total business. Summerfield says the takeover has not made a big difference to the company’s culture, but has acted as a spur to employees. Uniplex commands a healthy slice of the Unix office automation market, with more than 50% of the market. But it faces the threat of companies moving away from Unix as a general office environment, with the rise of client-server computing, based on Unix servers and personal computer clients. It is this threat that OnGo was originally developed to fight, but the present de-emphasis of the OnGo range could leave the company weaker in this area. Its new owners are more interested in Uniplex’s X.400 backplane, which they want to use to make it easier to tie in their existing software range to enterprise-wide networks.

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