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December 20, 1987

THE BEST OF 1987

By CBR Staff Writer

The Computergram International editorial staff present some of the highlights of 1987 as they have seen them

Best quote: In the event of an emergency, journalists are asked not to use their initiative. (IBMer showing journalists round Greenock factory).

Best reason for a name change:Dana Computer Inc which became Ardent Computer Corp, as founder Allen Michaels put it, to reflect the zeal with which our team has met the challenge of defining and creating the first of a new class of computer.

Most overhyped product area:desktop publishing.

Most overworked phrases for those introducing proprietary products: We are committed to OSI standards and Unix and we are committed to ISDN.

Longest-running failure to sell subsidiary:Thorn-EMI’s attempts to offload Inmos.

Most eagerly awaited launch:IBM’s Personal System/2.

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Most disappointing launch:IBM’s Personal System/2.

Vapourware of the year:IBM and Microsoft’s OS/2 for the PS/2 and others’ 80286 boxes.

Best comeback by a person:Sir Clive Sinclair who launched dhe Z88.

Best comeback by a company:Apricot Computers Plc which looked on its way out last year.

Fourth quarter least up to expectations outside IBM:Fletcher Dennys Systems Plc – now controlled by Hillsdown Holdings which bailed it out.

Most exciting day:October 19th – Black Monday

Most stimulating take-over battle: Wordplex Information Systems Plc.

Most wooed company:Decision Industries – by almost everybody.

Shortest-lived senior position: Octagon Investment’s Dr Geoff Bristow ran Wordplex Information Systems Plc for just 12 weeks before Octagon lost out to first Apricot Computers and then to Norsk Data Plc.

Biggest rip-off:The UKP670,000 Apricot Computers had to pay ‘advisors’ to meet costs of its short-lived bid for Wordplex Information Systems Plc.

Bargain of the year:The Osborne 1 on sale at Morgan Computers for UKP95.

Most important merger:GEC and Plessey putting their telecommunications businesses together – if they ever manage it.

Resignations:David Dey and Sir James Blyth of Plessey, the former and maybe the latter connected with the above. And the many other Plessey departures still to be announced.

Sacking: Thomas Rattigan of Commodore who turned up for work only to find he had been fired.

Forcible removal from the premises: Thomas Rattigan (see above)

Biggest price breakthrough:Amstrad’s PPC portables which would have been even cheaper but for:

Most contributions to lawyers’ incomes:Alan Sugar and Amstrad Plc – BBC, Personal Computer Business World, Southampton University, Epson and Toshiba were amongst those in the litigatious firing line.

Letter of the year:Alan Sugar’s missive to suppliers and journalists asking them not to bribe his staff in future by giving them presents.

Best public row:Alan Sugar berating his PR consultant Nick Hewer at the PPC launch after the unfortunate man suggested that it might be a good idea for Sugar to talk one-to-one to some members of the press.

Cheekiest legal action: Rodime Plc’s – promising – efforts to enforce its patents on 3.5 drives.

Most ludicrous settlement:Telex Corp paying Asher Edelman $9m to cover his costs after Memorex International’s bid succeeded despite the fact that he had reduced his offer price because he couldn’t raise the money. Just beats Miniscribe paying a similar amount to Rodime in settlement of 3.5 patent row (see above).

Divorce action of the year:Dennis & Melita Hayes, squabbling over who should have custody of Hayes Micro Products.

Most amusing results meeting:GEC – Lord Weinstock told Jewish jokes throughout.

Least well disguised attempt at losing a journalist by a PR person: The Binns Cornwall staffer who showed Computergram’s Catrina Dick to a room in Norsk Data’s Oslo headquarters from where she could file her story, and then failed to notice that she was not on the bus to the airport.

Most nearly disastrous first overseas press trip:Catrina Dick (see above).

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