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Technology / AI and automation


The Cambridge-based Torus Group Ltd has unveiled yet another new marketing strategy. Following on from the announcement a couple of months ago that the group was spinning out a hardware subsidiary, Torus Network Products Ltd (CI No 1,254), it has now revealed that Torus Systems Ltd is to be solely concerned with the sales and marketing of the Tapestry II product set, while a third subsidiary Torus Technology Ltd will be concerned with software development. The new-look Torus Systems division now has two main activities: the direct sales and support of Tapestry II Enterprise by Torus (agents have yet to be announced) and the indirect distribution of Tapestry II Office. Tapestry II Enterprise is Tapestry II 2.0, available from this month. It provides OS/2 support for workstations as well as file servers and is intended for large end users with a melting pot of network technologies within their organisations. Tapestry II Office, on the other hand, is described as a subset of Tapestry II 2.0 and is targeted at small departments and medium-sized companies with up to 50 nodes. Tapestry II Office is being exclusively distributed in the UK by Skytech Ltd. Along with this announcement, Torus has instigated some price changes: an entry level seven node Tapestry II Office pack with one MS-DOS manager and support for six workstations now costs UKP1,300 (as opposed to its previous price of UKP2,400) while the cost of extension packs has been reduced by about 30% to 40%. However, the Tapestry II Enterprise starter pack is now slightly more expensive at UKP2,800 but additional nodes are between 5% and 10% less expensive. Users wishing to convert from Tapestry 1.47 to Tapestry II Office will be able to do so for UKP1,300 (up until now the conversion has cost UKP2,000. Indeed Torus warns that Tapestry 1.47 will not be supported by workstation packs after mid-1990). The rationale behind the new Tapestry II product offerings is that, hitherto, smaller users had been leaving elements of Tapestry II on the shelf, as they, for example, did not need OS/2 LAN Manager. Consequently, it seemed like a good idea to market a more basic product for this type of user, hence Tapestry II Office. Not staking future on OS/2 On the other hand Pieter Knook, director and general manager of Torus Systems, says that OS/2 is gradually becoming more important, particularly for the larger user. He fought shy, however, of giving the impression that Torus wanted to hoist an OS/2 ensign over its Tapestry product. He argued that Torus has not had to invest a great deal of research and development in designing for the OS/2 environment because the basic design for OS/2 was architected in from Tapestry’s inception, following a 1986 agreement with Microsoft. Despite this planned compliance with Systems Application Architecture, Knook says it makes little difference to Torus whether OS/2 takes off or not since the company in his words is not staking its future on it. He added that for the server environment it would be very important because of increased memory requirements. Knook believes that there will be a mixed OS/2 and MS-DOS workstation environment for a while yet, and that MS-DOS will be Torus Systems’ major source of revenue in the UK for the next two or three years, and for even longer in other European countries. Torus, along with the rest of the world, is awaiting third party software applications for OS/2. It will be displaying its products at The OS/2 Show at Olympia this month. – Katy Ring

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