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November 23, 1993

FUJITSU ADDS HAL COMPUTER TO ITS SPARC COLLECTION

By CBR Staff Writer

HaL Computer Systems Inc, Campbell, California is to disappear after three years of existence – without ever launching a product. It was founded three years ago by Andrew Heller, who led the design team for Corp’s RS/6000 (CI No 1,577), and its mission was to develop a 64-bit version of the Sparc and to build transaction-intensive business computers around it. It was unusually secretive about its plans, so that no-one really knew how far along its chosen path it was. It will not disappear immediately, because it is being acquired by Fujitsu Ltd, which has clearly moved to protect the $40.2m investment it made in HaL in 1991, which bought it a 44% stake, and was accompanied by an ironic commitment not to increase its stake further; at that time, HaL already had 140 employees (CI No 1,748). The current aim is that HaL will serve as the principal development center for advanced 64-bit open systems hardware and for operating systems products for the Fujitsu group of companies – which nominally includes ICL Plc and Amdahl Corp. The move intensifies still further Fujitsu’s position as number two keeper of the Sparc architecture behind Sun Microsystems Inc itself – if any 64-bit work HaL has done is worth preserving, it can by fabricated at another of Fujitsu’s 1993 acquisitions, the HyperSparc specialist Ross Technology Inc. Heller quit HaL earlier this year to become a consultant to Fujitsu, based, like Ross, in Austin.

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