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AT&T&NCR

What a lot of letters! It may become reality if AT&T succeeds in its bid to buy NCR. So far NCR has refused (and I may not have this exactly right - stocks are not my strong suit) stock offers of $85 and $90 per share, but AT&T isn't giving up. There's been talk of $100 per share, and NCR has proposed $125 per share. One way or another, it's a lot of money.

AT&T is probably looking at NCR as a excellent way to finally get a decent computer line. NCR makes a huge family of computers and just released a whole slew of new ones. AT&T, on the other hand, has had poor results in the computer market. Computers like the AT&T PC 6300 and a pseudo-personal Unix box flopped in the market. So on that account, AT&T could get back into what it must see as a lucrative market, especially considering that AT&T Unix is a popular operating system and a number of the NCR computers run Unix.

The deal goes both ways, of course. NCR isn't known for their customer service, or rather they are known for mediocre customer service, whereas AT&T usually gets decent ratings on that score. In addition, NCR recently announced WaveLAN, a wireless network, though little has been said about it since its introduction. AT&T's clout behind WaveLAN might give it a serious boost in what is bound to become a large market eventually. Motorola has announced a more ambitious radio network, Apple has asked for FCC clearance for a portion of the bandwidth, and just recently Toshiba announced that it was working on the low end, a method of wireless communication between peripherals, which would eliminate the massive wire nest behind everyone's desks (where the wire rats live :-)). Who knows what AT&T could do with WaveLAN if it managed to acquire NCR and quickly pushed WaveLAN into the marketplace?

Related articles:
InfoWorld -- 26-Nov-90, Vol. 12, #48, pg. 21