Jacques Stern, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Bull, flew into town yesterday to head an open discussion touching on a number of themes close to the Honeywell Bull heart. Looking at the trends emerging and developing within the information technology world, Stern spoke of a move away from information processing and automation pure […]
Jacques Stern, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Bull, flew into town yesterday to head an open discussion touching on a number of themes close to the Honeywell Bull heart. Looking at the trends emerging and developing within the information technology world, Stern spoke of a move away from information processing and automation pure and simple, towards using information as a edge-creating, mangement tool. For the first time, he argued, intelligence is being applied in the process of developing and bringing goods to the market. At the the technological level, he detected a move away from centralised systems, and the arrival of a new distributed era based increasingly around networks. Bull’s response would, he declared, be the provision of greater interoperability, interconnectivity and software portability, and a continuing drive, through its X/Open activities, to persuade users to adopt a standard approach. As far as European industry as a whole was concerned, he claimed that emerging trends made it much easier for new manufacturers with a small share of the market to gain business: manufacturers had, he said, much more opportunity to gain, than risk to lose within what was increasingly a mature, customer-driven market. Although Europe’s share of the world computer market was still small, he drew upon a wealth of statistics to prove it presented companies like Honeywell Bull with numerous opportunities. Between 1985 and 1987, US firms lost some 13% of European business, while Europeans had gained some five percentage points. Overall, European companies now held 47% of the European market, compared with the 1985 figure of around 32%. Although still lagging behind in the investment stakes, he concluded that the European narket had the potential to grow much, much faster than any other market. Honeywell Bull’s ambition, was, he claimed, to become the world leader in open systems – a position which it could and would achieve through its strength, resources and expertise, and its unique world-wide capability for systems integration and distribution provided by its development centre in Hemel Hempstead. Projected research and development spending for 1989 now stands at over $600m. At a practical level, Bull has indicated that it will opt to increase its share-holding in Honeywell Bull Inc to 65% at the end of the year, and continue to forge alliances and partnerships where they make sense. One apparently sensible move clearly not on the agenda, however, is the integration of Honeywell Bull UK and Honeywell Bull Italy into the Paris-based Bull fold; both will continue to operate as European subsidiaries of their US parent, Honeywell Bull Inc in Billerica.