CAN ROSS MAKE THE SPARCs FLY?
IT HAS BEEN A TOUGH SLOG for Ross Technology Inc., a chipmaker in Austin, Tex., that's majority-owned by Fujitsu Ltd. It was among the first companies to clone Sun Microsystems Inc.'s SPARC microprocessor, but it captured just 10% of the SPARC market. So now, Ross is climbing up a notch on the food chain and cloning Sun's workstations.
That strategy has defeated several companies before, but John T. Horner, president of Ross Microcomputer Corp., a new subsidiary, reckons Ross has some unique advantages. He says Ross's Hyperstations, based on its new hyperSPARC chip, run 30% faster than comparably priced Sun machines. Plus, in contrast to previous Sun clones from Solbourne Computer and others, no software changes are required to move from Sun's to Ross's machines. To keep its support costs low, Ross plans to sell only to computer resellers, not to corporate customers. Finally, Fujitsu will make the hardware, beginning with hyperSPARC upgrade boards for Sun computers in March and full Hyperstations in the summer.
EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITY
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.