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November 16, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Sequoia Systems Inc’s announcement that it has discontinued discussions with Digital Equipment Corp to buy DEC’s fault-tolerant Alpha RISC-based development effort means that the Marlborough, Massachusetts-based company is effectively back to square one in its search for a follow- on architecture to the Motorola Inc 68040 it uses in its Series 400 system and the one-to-four processor low-end Series 40 machine developed by Samsung Electronics Co. The long promised fault-tolerant Sparc machine built around its technology by Toshiba Corp has metamorphosed into a PowerPC development that Sequoia says it will still market outside Japan, albeit later again than expected following Toshiba’s chip switch. Although it is still evaluating the part for its own use, PowerPC is only one of the processor options it now has, given the interests of its Texas Microsystems Inc acquisition (CI No 2,542), Sequoia says. Indeed, for the moment the company appears less interested in finding new customers than satisfying demands for greater price-performance from its installed base. It is still preparing enhancements to the Series 400 for the end of the year that will incorporate Series 40 features such as scalability and no chip decision is expected until well into next year. Under the proposed arrangement, Sequoia was to have taken DEC’s 20 to 30 fault-tolerant development staff to finish Tradewind, the Alpha FT box. Sequoia says talks stalled on the price, on marketing, manufacturing and other issues. DEC, which refused to comment on the future of its fault-tolerant line except to advise its few hundred customers, to sit tight, says it simply could not accept what Sequoia had offered for the business. While Texas Micro will be run as a separate subsidiary of Sequoia, the long-term plan is to merge technologies, products and distribution, according to Sequoia, although how or whether this will affect its more immediate architectural requirement is as yet far from clear.

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