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Apple/IBM: French happenings

by Jean-Philippe Nicaise -- nicky@etca.fr

On January 28th, the French government chose IBM to be the technological partner of Bull, the state-owned mini, workstation, and microcomputer builder. IBM and HP were competing for a few months to provide Bull with RISC technology that Bull had failed to develop internally. This is interesting because IBM will undoubtedly provide their RS/6000 architecture, the same chips that are destined for the PowerPCs that will eventually be a major hardware platform for the Pink OS coming from Taligent. Since Apple is the pre-eminent microcomputer company in France (and Apple France is the second largest market for Apple after the US), it's nice to see that the Bull RISC machines, which mainly end up in the government and schools, will be ready for Pink when (and if, of course) it arrives in 1993/4/5/6.

Apple has been doing well in France directly too. The same day, the French government also announced the creation of a workgroup to do a study on future popular multimedia terminals. Organizations involved in the workgroup will include Apple, Thomson Consumer Electronics (TCE), CNET (national PTT research center), France Telecom (national PTT), and possibly Kaleida. Apple is interested for obvious reasons given their recent announcement about entering the consumer electronics industry. CNET and France Telecom have ten years of experience in popular terminals (the Minitel) and 150,000 B-channel ISDN lines have already been installed in France, running a wide range of character-based applications. [Adam: Go ahead, make us ISDN-less folks in the US jealous!] TCE has developed the D2-MAC high quality TV standard in the past years and has a lot of experience in TV technology.