Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Zenith Data Systems Wins Big IRS Contract; Hyundai Electronics, Tandon Corp. Reach Pact

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Zenith Data Systems Wins Big IRS Contract; Hyundai Electronics, Tandon Corp. Reach Pact

Article excerpt

The rumor mill folled us again last month when we who watch the computer industry discovered that International Business Machines did not win the Internal Revenue Service contract for 15,000 to 18,000 laptop microcomputers for the agency's field auditors. In fact, despite all the grist in the trades to substantiate the IRS having named "Big Blue" the big winner, it was Zenith Data Systems and its Z-171 - soon available at ComputerLand through a recent central purchasing agreement - that won the estimated $27 million award.

With training, services and options, the value of the contract could actually escalate to as much as $50 million, according to other vendors who also bid on the contract.

Among the six other finalists for the IRS contract were Quadram, Texas Instruments, GRiD, Tava, Kaypro, AT&T and, of course, IBM, which went to the considerable expense of accelerating the development of its as-yet-under-wraps Clamshell laptop in anticipation of being awarded the contract.

Insiders say that it was Zenith's lease-to-buy deal and $1,500-per-unit price that turned IRS heads from the competition to Zenith.

- ComputerLand is about to introduce its own private-label IBM PC clone, a 256K RAM, single-drive system with a monitor, video card, serial and parallel prots. Intended to allow franchisees to build and configure systems to meet business customers' needs, the system will carry a suggested retail of $1,295 - $1,495, competitive with the Leading Edge and several other popular clones but somewhat under the $1,795 - $1,895 for which the dealers were lobbying.

- Two competing U.S. electronic mail providers have agreed to interconnect their services. MCI Mail and Compuserve, which serve a combined customer pool estimated at 500,000, have linked their electronic mail services to that subscribers to both systems can exchange mail.

The joint service is limited to electronic distribution only and will not allow CompuServe users access to MCI's paper-letter printing and hardcopy distribution through the U.S. Postal Service or courier services, nor will it allow MCI's customers access to any of CompuServe's databases or on-line discussion forums. According to PC Week magazine, subscribers to the two services may find the interconnection difficult to use at first because there is no subscriber directory available.

- ITT plans to introduce a high-performance, IBM PC AT-compatible microcomputer for multiuser and stand-alone applications, according to sources in the trade press.

The new Xtra 21, which reportedly will support up to 16 users under Xenix System V and as a file server on a local area network, will run from two to four times faster than the PC AT, thanks to theIntel Corp. 80286 microprocessor on which it is based. Insiders who have seen the machine in prototype form maintain that its principal advantage is in its use as a multiuser system operating with System V or Concurrent PC DOS. Xtra 21 benefits from an architecture that frees the central processor from the resource-draining task of managing terminal sessions. …

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