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November 13, 1995

IPSYS GOES UNDER BUT NEIGHBOUR LINCOLN SOFTWARE BUYS RIGHTS TO OBJECT IE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT

By CBR Staff Writer

Ipsys Software Plc, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, has gone into receivership following poor management decisions and some over-ambitious marketing strategies – including a US venture – according to Steven Law, managing director of Lincoln Software Ltd, which has acquired, for an undisclosed sum, the intellectual property rights to Ipsys’s Object IE application development environment. Law said Lincoln’s first task will be to concentrate on consolidating Ipsys’s core technology. He was cautious about product development plans, but said the company will probably extend the product line to other systems, including Windows NT, and is also looking for new distributors and integrators. Earlier this year Ipsys was talking a good fight against second generation application houses such as Forte Software Inc and Dynasty Technologies Inc (CI No 2,618). But it built up substantial debt trying to crack the US market by building a direct presence out of San Francisco, California. Despite all the efforts of Ipsys co-founder John Lewis, who spearheaded the US effort, the company’s North American sales remained almost non-existent; wins included Canadian travel company Global, in Toronto, and direct mail specialist FingerHut in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lincoln, which claims no link with the previous administration, although being based just along the road in Macclesfield, says he has retained Ipsys’s 10 key technologists – with three or four staff doing all the other jobs – from the 30 technical staff Ipsys employed before its demise. Lincoln has four shareholders including Steven Law; co-director Ashley Hall and two non-participants. Hall and Law already own a value-added reseller networks and personal computers business called Hallman Computer Co Ltd, based in Cheshire. According to Hall, Ipsys did not recoup enough of its heavy research and development spending, and focused too heavily on the US venture. Lincoln will support the Ipsys products and listen to the customer’s feedback for a change. Ipsys Object IE is used to generate database and design code on Sun Microsystems Inc and IBM Corp systems. It became prominent in the early 1990s through rivalry with Bournemouth-based Systematica Ltd, another advocate of the so-called MetaCASE approach, where software engineering tools tuned to individual organisations’ particular software design methodology are built using complex development environments. Ironically, Systematica too foundered, partly thanks to Ipsys’s more effective marketing at the time.

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