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February 16, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

The refusal of its backers to bank-roll EnMasse Computer Corp further (CI No 607) has thrown into confusion Olivetti’s plans to enter the European market with a high-transaction-capacity Pick-under-Unix. Toltec Computer Corp, Phoenix, Arizona, where Olivetti is a major investor, had adopted the EnMasse multiprocessor transaction-intensive Unix implementation as the platform for its Pick implementation (CI No 580), but had been looking around for a higher-performance engine than the EnMasse multiprocessor 68000 family machine. According to Omri Serlin, whose Itom International publishes the Fault-Tolerant Systems newsletter out of Los Altos, California, Toltec had lighted on the high-performance 32-bit CMOS processor developed by Edge Computer Corp, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota but manufacturing in Phoenix. According to Serlin, the Edge processor, announced 11 months ago as equivalent to a VAX 8600 (CI No 402) is effectively a 6 MIPS pre-implementation of the 68020, making it an ideal engine on which to run power-hungry system software developed to run on the 68000 family. Toltec has been considering a merger with Edge – but the failure of EnMasse has put a question mark over the agreement, because EnMasse was a significant contributor to the $17m venture capital raised by Edge. And the backers of the failed Acton, Massachusetts company are seeking as much from the wreck of EnMasse as possible, and before Edge can merge with anybody, it will have to repay the money advanced by EnMasse and find another investor to replace it. The solution seems to lie in the door of Olivetti Ventures.

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