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July 27, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Motorola Information Systems Ltd in the UK has changed its name back again to Motorola Codex, as if to admit defeat in its attempt at making money out of selling computer systems. Motorola bought Phase Four Systems of Cupertino, with bases at Tempe, Arizona and Dallas, Texas in 1982 and never succeeded in turning the computer business into a viable proposition, even after pushing the whole thing through its Value Added Reseller scheme, called Freeway, where companies sold Motorola’s kit, made up of Convergent Technologies Unix machines and the key-to-disk systems it acquired from Four Phase Systems, into market niches. Anyway the Codex name was always maintained in the US, and is the one known the world over, including the UK. Some of the UK management trickled away from the company earlier this year and new man in the hot seat at the UK company’s Wellington headquarters in Surrey is John Richardson, who left bankrupt PABX-maker Z-Tel Corp of Wilmington, Massachusetts as senior vice president for Europe earlier this year.

Pin down Telecom engineers

Motorola Codex is concentrating its efforts more these days on communications products and has just launched a new AT-compatible-based network management system to update its six-year-old Distributed Network Control System, DNCS, which it claims will help its customers pin down the likes of British Telecom when their telephone lines go down. The new product is called the 9300 series or the Elf range and is available in its first form to support modems only – up to 400. It starts as a single card, which supports up to eight network channels for around UKP5,000. It includes colour graphics, Microsoft Windows and Borland’s Reflex data base management system, for drawing up reports on the efficiency or particular inefficiencies of the public telephone authority’s lines a customer is obliged to use. The Elf will also be able to support X25 switches and statistical and time-division multiplexers by the beginning of 1988, according to product marketing manager Roger Walton. The Elf can keep a record of faults that have occurred, which can be very useful in situations, where a customer can’t get hold of a Telecom engineer for love or money because of industrial disputes, useful too for a record of intermittent faults that correct themselves before the engineer gets to a customer’s site. The product can predict when a customer is likely to experience problems – circuits tend to degrade over a certain period of time, fault-types can be pinpointed and analysed quickly, and problems can be isolated to particular segments of a customer’s circuit. The product will only work with Motorola or Motorola-compatible kit. It’s being aimed at small to medium sized network users, primarily existing Motorola DNCS sites that want to upgrade. Companies spend between 10% and 20% of their networking budgets on network management systems, says Roger Walton. Motorola will be selling the Hewlett-Packard Vectra with 20Mb of Winchester storage, a 1.2Mb floppy disk drive and 640Kb RAM, colour monitor and printer and mouse ports for users who want a system from scratch.

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