IBM’s OEM contract from Digital Equipment Corp for its 3480 tape drives may be shortlived, and other suppliers who were eliminated in the first round – Storage Technology Corp and Hitachi Ltd among them – will get another crack at a share of the business. According to Electronic News, DEC has decided to make a new decision on a supplier for standard sized 3480 drives before the end of its fiscal year in June, in the second phase of what will now be a three-phase procurement expected to total between $200m and $500m. DEC’s decision to reopen the bidding is said to have been spurred by the fact that Storage Technology Corp is now in sound financial health: DEC is said to have been particularly taken with StorageTek’s robotic library which is able to store and mount automatically as many as 6,000 cartridges. And in the third phase of the procurement, DEC is understood to be looking for low-profile rack-mounted 3480-compatible drives that typically cost $10,000 to $15,000. Several small companies are said to be potential contenders for this part of the procurement, including Aspen Peripherals – now under offer from StorageTek, this page – controller maker IntelliStor, and Laser Magnetic Storage, as well as StorageTek, Hitachi and Fujitsu – but DEC is not expected to start seeking tenders for these before 1990.
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