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MACHINES BASED ON THE 80386 MICROPROCESSOR RUN RIOT AT COMDEX/FALL

Confusion reigned among customers and observers wandering around the estimated 15 miles of aisles spread over seven hotel sites at Comdex/Fall this year – at least 20 companies and probably more the New York Times suggested 386 were showing newly released 80386-based computers, many with little to distinguish them from the competition. Machines from 3Com, Acer, ARC, AST, Cordata, Computer Components, PCs Ltd, Dale, Fortron, HK Ammtek and IDS (to name a few) vied with offerings from the larger companies such as Altos, NCR, Tandy, Texas Instruments and Unisys. Jeff Grammer from Chips & Technologies estimated that excluding Compaq and IBM, 50% of the companies were using its AT chip set. Most companies are now introducing 20MHz technology, more suitable for file server applications than PCs, he said, and most are using software or other added value to sell products. A spokesman from Compaq however, first out with an 80386 machine earlier this year, doubted that companies would be able to deliver machines, given the continuing shortage of the chips from Intel. Compaq is supplying machines up to the limit of its allocation, he said. Tandy Corp relaunched its 80386based Tandy 4000 Series personal computer and says that it will market the boxes in preference to its current Tandy 6000, which runs Xenix on the Motorola 68000 processor and leads the market for multi-user micros in the US, it claims. The new machines, running Santa Cruz’s SCO Xenix 386, will be sold through Tandy’s 375 business stores throughout America, and through its direct sales force of 1,200. The 4000 runs at 16MHz, supports up to 33 users, and will sell at from $2,500, slightly more than the 6000, which will continue to be supported. SCO Xenix is also available for the 80286based Tandy 3000 computers, but Howard Elias of Tandy did not anticipate demand for multi-user configurations of this machine. Tandy’s European business was of course spun off as a separate company, InterTan Inc, at the beginning of the year and Santa Cruz Operation says that it is currently holding talks with InterTan with regard to European Xenix distribution.

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CBR Staff Writer

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