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Prime Computer Inc has signed a letter of intent to buy a majority stake in Switerland’s Wild Leitz Group geographic information systems division. The 100-strong Swiss unit manufactures the Unix-based System9 geographic information system, which runs on the Sun 3/60 workstation resold by Prime as its WS3600 series. The unit will be turned into a new company name and location unspecified – in which Wild Leitz will hold a minority stake; so far, no other financial details have been released. The move ties in with the Natick company’s continued attempts to diversify into vertical markets, typified by by its recent acquisition of Computervision Corp. Prime chief Tony Craig expects the geographic information systems market to grow at an annual rate of 30%, and plans to enhance the System9 product to meet the developing needs of users. In addition, the company plans to combine sales forces in a targeted world wide marketing drive. Prime will concentrate on selling System9 bundled workstations to state and local government departments, while Wild Leitz will continue its focus on surveyors and engineering services. The letter also covers a long-term technology exchange; the pact should be definitive by year-end. The systems store, analyse and display geographical data. Key selling points for the System9 are appear to be its feature oriented 3D database and continuous mapping capability.

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