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November 6, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Data General Ltd, Brentford, Middlesex, recently hosted a meeting of the UK Pick Users Association, which it used as a forum to promote the company’s own turn towards the wonderful culture that is Pick. Apparently Data General Corp in the US entered the Pick market two years ago, though it has to be said that the Westborough, Massachusetts-based company has kept pretty quiet about it. And, to date, Data General has not been involved in Pick in the UK, though this seemingly is about to change. So just how serious about Pick is Data General? Reasonably so, according to DG’s Daniel Supir.


The company describes Pick as a strategic product, but as a database management system under Unix, and not as a stand-alone operating system. And Data General has chosen to embrace VMark Software Inc’s uniVerse and Unidata Inc’s Unidata product as well as Advanced Pick under its DG/UX implementation of Unix. The company’s reasoning behind this is that the three implementations of the Pick database management systems address slightly different needs. Data General claims to have shipped in the US some 130 AViiON systems with Pick. One Pick dealer at the User Meeting suggested that the company was just seeking to get its hands on a portion of the existing Pick user base, rather than harbouring a real commitment to promoting Pick to new users. Supir conceded that the company is eager to see the wealth of Pick applications (there are claimed to be some 4,000 commercial business applications on the market) up on the 88000 RISC-based AViiON machines, but noted that as a hardware vendor, Data General won’t be developing its own Pick applications. He went so far as to say that the only strength Pick carries with it is the wealth of existing applications. Quite a damning thing for a supposedly committed Pick supporter to say. The dealer who’d raised the point retorted that Data General knows very little about Pick and needs to generate new business that will sustain sales for 10 years, which he said the company could do only if it promoted Pick to new customers instead of focusing on replacement sales. The word evangelise cropped up a couple of times, and I began to experience something of the passion that is so characteristic of Pick users. Of Data General’s 130 claimed Pick-based AViiON sales, most have been in vertical markets such as the medical and insurance systems markets.

The world of Pick is nothing if not exciting – companies that specialise in the operating system quietly make a sizable fortune against all odds, others go bust and re-emerge under other names, and arguments are never far from the surface. These days, the operating system has gained a second wind by getting itself hosted under Unix. Data General in the UK recently hosted a meeting of the UK Pick user group, choosing the event as a forum to promote the company’s own direction in the Pick market. Sue Norris went along to hear the General’s plans and Pick’s presence in the UK

It was in the latter case that the company stumbled across Unidata. Data General will support Unidata, but only at arm’s length, it seems, since the Unidata Pick product is apparently harder to convert to Unix. The other two products it will market, sell and support on a worldwide basis. As for Pick Systems Inc, the company, well Dick Pick has fallen on rocky times. He’s going through a divorce and his wife, who owns 40% of Irvine, California-based Pick Systems, and seems to be milking Pick the man for all he’s worth. Hence Pick Europe Take Seven. In May, Pick Systems set up in Milton Keynes, where two technical support staff – Tom Ernsberger and Dawn Bowley – are now based, serving distributors and dealers throughout Europe from one tiny office. This is part of Pick’s new determined big Pick push this side of the Atlantic. Not only that, but Pick Systems has gone so far as to appoint a public relations company in this country, which is operating as a Pick Information Office in Crowthorne, Berkshire, so maybe we’ll see some sort of real marketing effort at last, and some local suppo

rt for those devotees that hang out in this neck of the Pick woods. Pick’s own marketing abilities, of course, leave much to be desired.

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Early in October, Pick presented Advanced Pick for MS-DOS to its distributors and value-added resellers (CI No 1,772) at an elaborate bash at the famous Stringfellows here in London, but virtually no press was invited and the turn-out was notably poor. But Pick hopes to host some better-publicised events in the future, so watch this space. And, at next year’s European Unix Show, the UK Pick Users Association intends to take a 40-seater stand alongside Pick Systems to promote Advanced Pick. To date, according to InfoCorp figures, there are an estimated 200,000 mid-range Pick installations, and 125,000 personal computer installations, with a total 3m users worldwide. The marketplace is reckoned to be worth $3,000m. In the UK, there are some 200 Pick value-added resellers, buying from three distributors – Cotswold Computers Ltd, Adgtech International and System Builders. Advanced Pick for MS-DOS, which is available now, costs $200 in the US. Intel-based products are shipping for $250 per user for up to 32 users, then $225 per user. Mid-range packages (that is for IBM Corp or Data General systems) are $450 per user for up to 48 users, beyond which they are $375 per user. In the second quarter of 1992, Pick says it will release the MS-DOS product with full integration to Windows and NetWare, as well as other local network implementations. No further development is being carried out on R83 Pick – Advanced Pick is upwards compatible with the R83.

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