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May 31, 1988

POINT 4 DATA CORP BUILDS ITS OWN RISC PROCESSOR FOR IRIS, SETS UNIX MOVE FOR 1989

By CBR Staff Writer

That rather unlikely veteran computer industry survivor, privately-held Point 4 Data Corp, based in Irvine, California has added two new minicomputers to its range, based on a proprietary RISC architecture dervived from its previous complex instruction set systems. The company specialises in business systems using the Iris operating system, and for years has built its own Data General Novalike processors on which to offer it. Originally developed by Canadian educational interests, the IRIS operating system is designed for transaction-oriented applications and a variant used to be offered on one variant of the Nixdorf Computer 8870 business computers. Point 4 claims that Iris has now been delivered to more than 28,000 installations worldwide. The new Mark 12E deskside system supports up to 128 users and is rated at 15.6 MIPS, and the Mark 6E is a 6.25 MIPS system. Both will run software for the company’s low-end conventional architecture machines. Point 4 was rumoured last year to be involved with the now defunct EnMasse Computer Corp in a project to establish a range of Unix products at the low end. This was decided at the time to be against the company’s interests and was withdrawn. Point 4 also came close to tying the knot with Alpha Microsystems, but failed to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties. A Point 4 spokesman said that the Unix project had now been re-kindled, this time concentrating on the high-end, implementing a RISC chip from Motorola Inc, Sun Microsystems or MIPS Computer. Results of the Unix project are expected in about a year.

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