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July 7, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:01pm

MORE SUN SPOTS: ICL DUMPS SPARC

By CBR Staff Writer

Inflicting yet another wound to the already bleeding RISC fraternity, Fujitsu/ICL Computers Ltd’s finally stuck the knife in its HyperSparc and SuperSparc TeamServer and SuperServer systems, killing them stone dead. The move also spells the end for ICL’s own Unix System V4.2 MP-based DRS/NXV7 operating system which runs on the TeamServer and SuperServer Sparc systems. ICL was the first company to have a Unix SVR4 implementation up on Sparc. It’s a double blow to the Sparc world as ICL was one of the few users of the HyperSparc RISC manufactured by Ross Technology Inc – in its TeamServer Gs and SuperServer Js – the ailing Sparc processor shop 60% owned by Fujitsu (CI No 3,195). It’s also a slap in the face for minority Ross shareholder Sun Microsystems Inc, which is still trying foster a Sparc-compatible industry. ICL currently uses SuperSparc RISC chips in its H series TeamServers and K-type Series models. ICL says it’ll migrate its existing 13,000 NXV7 SuperServer/TeamServer users over time, but attempting to provide some comfort, says it’ll continue to offer an NXV7 protection alternative investment while there remains reasonable demand. Given its Sparc ships are less than 1,500 per year – one source put that at below 1,000 – that point can’t be too long away. ICL already offers migration services to UnixWare-on-Intel, including free configuration tools. ICL says Intel powered machines represented more than ninety per cent of its 15,000 volume server ships last year and the metrics of its business in green field sites are driven more and more by its existing Intel on UnixWare and NT offerings. The writing’s been on the wall for some months; ICL is one of the more vociferous cheerleaders in Europe for Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s Big E UnixWare supporter’s club and believes this will dominate the enterprise systems market of the future. ICL’s betting that once the Intel’s Merced chip comes into play the choice will be irresistible. In May ICL admitted that its Sparc- based server sales were in decline, but said we’re not ramping them down, the market is. Fujitsu/ICL Ltd is the joint venture which witnessed the divestment of loss making ICL Volume Products into one company selling personal computers and servers back in July of last year. Headed by CEO David Mills it develops, manufactures and markets a clutch of personal computers, portables and servers – up to six ways – for corporate and home users and is aiming to broaden its existing corporate and home market share and grow into the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) business. Fujitsu/ICL Computers employs 2,000 staff based in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

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