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Technology / AI and automation


Nokia Data, the Finnish-owned, Stockholm, Sweden-based company formed from the acquisition by conglomerate Nokia Oy of Ericsson’s data systems division, has been elaborating on plans to build substantially on Ericsson’s tentative ventures into Unix. In 1989, the company is planning to complete conversion of its portfolio of applications that currently run on the Ericsson 2500 range of proprietary bit-slice systems to allow the software to run under Unix. Accordingly, the company will be looking round for suppliers of large Unix machines; currently its Unix line consists of the System 20, inherited from Ericsson and consisting of products built round Sun workstations and processors, but it will be seeking systems up to the 150-user range to top off the product line. Nokia points out that the 2500 range already supports Ethernet: the intention is that Unix processors could be networked with 2500s to increase the power available to existing users. Ideally, in such a configuration users would not have to know whether they were running off a Unix machine or a 2500. The company’s strengths are in the finance, distribution and manufacturing industries and it emphasises that it will continue to focus on direct sales and service rather than trying to compete in the cut-throat reseller market. It will also be focussing on office automation. The System 20 itself, which Ericsson was already selling in Scandinavia and Holland, is likely to be introduced into the UK this year. Meanwhile, Nokia appears keen to become a member of the X/Open Group, while Ericsson, which admits that it no longer fulfils the criteria for X/Open membership, so far retains its position as an X/Open shareholder. Ericsson hopes to continue to have some role with X/Open and notes that it is likely to use Unix in other areas, notably communications products. Not too surprisingly since the need has not previously arisen X/Open has no procedure for transferring membership between companies. Nokia Data, part of the UKP3,000m Nokia Group which makes everything from power stations to toilet paper (even IBM cannot claim to make toilet paper), from mobile telephones to rubber products (an exceptionally rainy year boosted demand for rubber boots in Finland, notes the company’s 1987 report), claims that with UKP700m revenues and 8,000 staff it is now Europe’s seventh largest information technology company and easily the largest in Scandinavia. And the company plans to grow its involvement in electronics – standing at 67% of Nokia Group revenues following the Ericsson acquisition – still further by 8 tion as well as by internally generated growth.

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CBR Staff Writer

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