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July 22, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM has suffered such a mauling at the hands of competitors led by DEC in the mid-range of the computer market that the company is taking unprecedented steps to convince the world that the bad old days of incompatible offerings and rival product managers who squabble among themselves really are over. The latest step was a briefing for analysts in Dallas the other day at which the company discussed future product plans in unusual detail. Needless to say, much of what was said has been leaked straight to the press, in particular Computer Systems News. IBM reportedly told the analysts that it was putting an end to internal rivalries left over from the GSD-DPD days by bringing everything together in a co-ordinated single mid-range effort within the System Products Group. As for specific products, the company hinted at yet another series of enhancements for the much-maligned System 36 in the fourth quarter, followed by the Silverlake machine that brings together the System 38 and 38 operating environments in a single machine – in early 1988, probably February. The current promise for Silverlake is that it will combine the file structures of System 38 with the (relative) ease of use of the System 36, and will include rack-mountable models. IBM also hints that the DB2 relational database manager and SQL Structured Query Language may also be added on Silverlake at some stage. There seems to have been a rethink on Systems Applications Architecture already, and RPG is now included, while the AIX implementation of Unix is not. The word now on AIX is that there will be a parallel Unix product line. When the Personal System/2 was announced, IBM said that a date for release of a subset of AIX for PS/2 would be notified in the fourth quarter: the company is now saying that it will be available in the first half of next year – and we now know that Locus Computing Corp is doing much of the work (CI No 719). However for those impatient to liberate all the functionality of the 9370 with appropriate software, the news is surprisingly bad: while an implementation of the MAP Manufacturing Automation Protocol is promised for the fourth quarter of this year, as is a native VM implementation of the CICS Customer Information Control System teleprocessing monitor, the cut-down version of MVS – tagged MVS/IS – for the 9370 is promised only by 1990, while the vital 9370 implementation of the DPPX operating system from 8100 should be ready by mid-1989.

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