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March 22, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

A two-month delay in the announcement of IBM’s Silverlake successor to the Systems 38 and 36, putting it back to June, is now expected by West German users, according to Computerwoche. IBM is keeping quiet, but the trade weekly says that sources close to IBM suggest that difficulties with the system’s software or deficiencies in the conversion tools have led to the postponement. German commentators are quick to point out that getting the tools right is of crucial importance both for immediate conversion needs, and, long-term, for building up user confidence in the new system. On the latter score, the company is expected to break with tradition by putting the new computer out through 12 marketing partners in the second quarter of the year, before making the system generally available. In the meantime, it is pretty clear that System 36 applications developers are up a blind alley. A user meeting at the beginning of March found IBM informally admitting what resellers have treated as an open secret since October 1987: System 36 users will simply get an emulation environment on Silverlake, and if they want to make use of the additional functionality made available by the new machine, they will have to convert to the machine’s native mode. According to Enno Richter, manager of the Boblingen-based WIR-EDV consultancy, IBM knows only too well that emulation is not an acceptable option. Users don’t just want a faster machine, they are also looking for additional functionality: additional database functionality and the integration of Structured Query Language, for example.

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