General Automation Inc has a letter of intent to acquire privately-held UK Pick-popper Aston Technology Ltd of Aston, Birmingham, the Anaheim, California company announced yesterday. Since its formation in 1983, Aston has carved a niche for itself in several vertical markets, including the legal profession, the Health Service, school and university admin systems, and vehicle fleet management, with supermicros running the Pick and BOS Software operating systems and also Unix. Sales last year were about UKP3m. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Aston Technology bought its 68000 family boards OEM from Pertec, but that agreement was put into question by acquisition of Pertec by San Optics Inc (CI No 628), and the hardware is likely to be replaced by General Automation’s Zebra Pick supermicros and the fault-tolerant Unix machines from its Parallel Computers acquisition – BOS will no doubt run on the Zebras. General Automation is still in buying mode, and it now has its eye on a software company.