The introduction by Intergraph Corp, Huntsville, Alabama, of additions to its Clipper-based workstation family heralds the company’s entrance onto the heavily contested workstation platform. Previously Intergraph sold the Interpro only as part of its CAD/CAM systems that are based on a shared DEC VAX. A separate division has now been set up in the US to sell the Interpros purely as standalone workstations, deciding that they can compete as well as the rest of the gang. New software has been developed for the workstations, but much of it emulates what happens on the DEC VAX systems. Realising that one of the musts in this market is standards Intergraph: uses Unix System V.3 with Berkeley extensions; is currently porting the X.11 windowing standard but will still retain support for – in its opinion – its own superior system; has added support for TCP/IP com-munications despite its conviction that the XNS protocol, traditionally used by Intergraph, is more efficient; and has provided support for RFS and NFS. Intergraph is also actively seeking tie-ups with third party software vendors to gain machine acceptance. Although the Interpro will be sold as a stand-alone system wherever Intergraph is represented in Europe this will predominantly be handled by resellers, because Intergraph believes these will have a greater understanding of the market. In the US, however, Intergraph will use only direct sales for the forseeable future, wishing to concentrate on large customers such as the US Government to gain endoresement for the machine. The workstation marketing division in the US, although a separate division, can make use of all the company’s resources such as its Federal sales force. Now that it owns the Fair-child processor set, it will keep the micro-processor group as separate as possible from the rest of the company, in order to avoid compromising sales of the Clipper chip set to companies that may be potential competitors.
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