As expected, Hyundai Electronics America Inc’s San Jose, California-based Axil Workstations division will be spun out as an independent unit with its own stock options and board of directors towards the end of the second quarter, with a view to a US public flotation, and will be known as Axil Systems Corp or something similar. […]
As expected, Hyundai Electronics America Inc’s San Jose, California-based Axil Workstations division will be spun out as an independent unit with its own stock options and board of directors towards the end of the second quarter, with a view to a US public flotation, and will be known as Axil Systems Corp or something similar. The unit is headed by Dr C S Park, who came over from the Korean parent last summer – former MasPar Computer Corp vice-president and one-time Pyramid Technology Corp president Bill Shellooe is vice-president of marketing. The company lost some momentum last year as the result of a lawsuit brought by Sun Microsystems Inc alleging Axil had copied some of its board designs. However, the suit was settled out of court and the two now appear closer because of it. Although it did not provide specific details, Axil says it is doing joint development work with Sun’s Sparc Technology Business in a number of areas, and expects Sparc Technology to pick up its custom ASICs which are claimed to increase the performance of Sparcstation 10 architectures. Axil’s 235 product uses a mechanism that enables Sparcstation 2 users to upgrade, via a board-swap, to a SuperSparc Sparcstation 10. The 235 is a remodelled version of one of the two systems that figured in the lawsuit. Although Axil announced a series of workstations and servers based on HyperSparc RISC from Fujitsu Ltd’s Ross Technology Inc back in September last year, none will ship until SunSoft Inc officially endorses and pledges future support for a version of Solaris geared for the Ross architecture, it says. Ross kernel code is already included in Solaris 2.3, but an expected announcement of support from SunSoft at last September’s Unix Expo show never materialised and left a slew of Sparcsystem-compatible builders with planned HyperSparc machines in limbo. Observers have attributed SunSoft’s reluctance to a desire not to be bested by a crop of HyperSparcs upstaging its own products. Nevertheless, Axil expects a SunSoft announcement imminently. Meanwhile, with Sun weeding out its own reseller channel, Axil has picked up a slew of new distributors in the US which it claims have already signed for Axil Sparc compatibles worth some $50m.
European business especially good
In total it has some 60 value-added resellers in the US and 25 elsewhere. Recent US wins include Acropolis Systems Inc, Andataco Inc, Avcom, Can Am, Hardware Canada Computing, Technology Distributors Inc, and a Bell Atlantic Corp service and support division. The aim is to boost Axil sales in the US, which in 1992 and 1993 respectively accounted for just 15% and 20% of revenue on total unit shipments of 1,760 and 4,565 in those periods. Axil hopes to sell 13,000 units this year, half of them in the US. European business is especially good, says Axil, because firms here are less brand-conscious than in the US. International Data Corp estimates that Sparcsystem cloners will ship 15%, or 60,000 of the total number of Sparc systems delivered this year: its forecast says Sun will clear 328,000 units over the period. Axil reckons its 13,000 would account for some 22% of that compatible market. Axil, now up to some 160 employees, offers the 210 Sparcstation 2 compatible, the 220 – a Sparcclassic/LX clone – the 235 board, the 311 Sparcstation 10-alike (the redesigned 310) with a quad-processor HyperSparc-based server and a range of other Ross options planned for the day when SunSoft endorses Solaris on the architecture. Meantime Shellooe is wrestling with Axil technologies and the current product line and hopes to formulate a new strategy that will kick-start the independent business, differentiate the line from Sun offerings and give Axil a leg-up over US and Taiwanese Sparc-compatible competition.