Magazine article American Banker

Computer Companies to Discuss Getting Different Machines on Speaking Terms

Magazine article American Banker

Computer Companies to Discuss Getting Different Machines on Speaking Terms

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) -- Computer companies are planning a summit meeting this month to discuss how to clear away the technical and competitive obstacles that stand in the way of easy communication between different brands of machines.

Planners hope to make computers and related equipment as easy to interconnect as stereo receivers, speakers, and tape decks made by different companies, said A.G.W. Biddle, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association in Arlington, Va.

Incompatibility of brands of equipment is the biggest headache for data managers because it obstructs the flow of information inside their companies, for example, from the shop floor to the accounting department to the front office.

"This initiative is a very important step in the history of this industry," Mr. Biddle said. "It should free up a tremendous amount of resources for innovation."

eighteen companies that are spearheading the standardization drive have invited about 50 others -- including industry leader International Business Machines Corp. -- to attend a Jan. 23 meeting to discuss their plans.

Members of the "Group of 18" hope to convince IBM and the others to join them in a nonprofit organization called the Corporation for Open Systems that will specify standards and test equipment for compliance.

The organization would start with a budget of $8 million to $10 million a year, Mr. Biddle said. Each founding member would put up $125,000 in 1986 and $200,000 each year afterward, he said.

IBM will participate in the Jan. 23 meeting but has not formally decided whether but has not formally decided whether to join the Corporation for Open Systems, spokesman Brian Ditzler said.

Mr. Biddle said that the expects IBM to accept. The deadline to become a founding member is March 1.

IBM's participation would be crucial to the organization's success, said Richard Stuckey, a partner in the technical services organization of Arthur Andersen & Co. in Chicago.

"If all of [the other computer makers] agreed to it, even added together they still don't carry as much weight as IBM," Mr. …

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