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General Automation Inc, Anaheim, California, didn’t quite meet its target of having its proposed acquisition of Parallel Computers, Santa Cruz, wrapped up by December 31 (CI No 590), but it was all over bar the shouting by the time the old year ended. General Automation’s board approved the terms of the acquisition on December 31, Parallel’s board having already approved them on December 29. The companies plan to sign a final agreement this month, with the acquisition to be effective from the end of last year. Terms will be disclosed upon signing. Parallel, whose annualised revenues are currently approximately $6m, will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of General Automation, and will retain its name and its product lines as before the acquisition. According to General Automation chief Leonard Mackenzie, the combined company will address immediately the vertical markets that Parallel has begun to penetrate, including telecommunications, lotteries and gaming, emergency dispatching, newsroom automation, and banking and finance – fields where computer down-time is an unacceptable phenomenon, and where Parallel’s mean time between failures of 20 years gives us a decided product marketing advantage. Richard Eppel, president of Parallel Computers, said that his company would work closely with our new parent to introduce Parallel fault-tolerance to General Automation’s large installed base of manufacturing and financial automation minicomputers worldwide. Mackenzie said that his enhanced engineering group would place a high priority during calendar 1987 on the transfer of General Automation’s standard Pick operating system to Zebra computer systems with Parallel’s fault-tolerant capabilities. I want to emphasise that we have explicit faith in the growth potential of fault-tolerance in the Pick community, Mackenzie said. Many Pick installations involve massive and dynamically changing data bases that can ill afford machine down-time. Among our installed verticals, one has only to look at systems in medical institutions and health care, home video shopping, pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, manufacturing, and wholesale distribution to find numerous instances where fault-tolerance would make a critical difference in selecting a system.

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