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November 30, 1987

REUTERS DEAL CONTINUES, BUT 50 GO AS ACORN ENDS QUEST FOR CUSTOM BUSINESS

By CBR Staff Writer

Two and a half years after Olivetti rescued Acorn Computers Plc for the second time, the Cambridge micromaker is still not back to new recovery, and following the sudden departure a month ago of managing director Brian Long, the company has shut down the division dedicated to seeking business for its microcomputers customised for a particular application at a cost of 50 jobs, one sixth of the 300-strong workforce. The company succeeded in landing only one such contract, building workstations for Reuters Holdings Plc, and that business will continue. The shares put on a penny to 40p, but the intractable problems at the company are particularly disappointing in the context that its two major US competitors, Atari Inc and Commodore International Ltd, each of which hit trouble at about the same time as Acorn, are both now trading profitably, Atari triumphantly so, on the back of strong European business rather than the US market.

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