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November 29, 1987

DEC SHORTLISTS IBM, HITACHI TO SUPPLY TOP-END TAPE DRIVES OEM

By CBR Staff Writer

DEC could soon be buying 3480 tape drives OEM from IBM after eliminating Fujitsu, Storage Technology and Aspen Peripherals from the list of five companies from which it requested tenders. According to Electronic News, Fujitsu America confirms that IBM is now on a shortlist of two, the other surviving contender being Hitachi Ltd – none of the others involved were prepared to comment. The business, to replace DEC’s existing reel-to-reel tape drives for the high-end models of the VAX minicomputer line, is estimated to be worth up to $50m over the term of the contract. The Hitachi contender is the 3480-compatible unit that is sold by National Advanced Systems in the US and Europe as the 7480, and like the IBM 3480 uses an 18-track half-inch tape cartridge. DEC’s own tape drive efforts are concentrated on low end cartridge drives for its Q-bus-based computers. Following considerable success with the 3380 disks on the OEM market, IBM has actively been seeking OEM customers for the 3480, but any contract from DEC would be its first major OEM success for the product. DEC is expected to make its choice by the end of the year.

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