Mention the name Microrim Inc and few people beyond the US will know what the company does unless they read their Computergram from cover to cover every day, but in the US the company claims that its R:Base product is the best-selling relational database for personal computers after Ashton-Tate Corp’s dBase, boasting an installed base […]
Mention the name Microrim Inc and few people beyond the US will know what the company does unless they read their Computergram from cover to cover every day, but in the US the company claims that its R:Base product is the best-selling relational database for personal computers after Ashton-Tate Corp’s dBase, boasting an installed base of over 500,000. The company’s anonymity outside the US can in large part be attributed to an international distribution agreement it signed with Microsoft Corp in 1986. Microrim’s current president Jack Noonan says that the company was naive to expect Microsoft to go all out and promote the product – the deal was terminated at the end of 1988. That being so, the company has still taken over two years to begin to get its act together on the international scene. In fact Noonan says he is the author of Microrim’s move to a marketing-oriented company and he joined Microrim in March from his position as vice-president of Candle Corp’s product group. He believes that Microrim’s problem was simply that it did not know how to go out and sell itself: as he puts it, at present there is $6.5m worth of research and development work sitting in the lab just waiting to be commercially exploited. Part of this development is a hardware independent database that has not yet seen the late of day. Noonan says this product will only be rolled out on strategic systems, but declined to comment further because he wants to get away from the perception that Microrim is a vapourware company. Basically, Personal R:Base, which is Microrim’s latest product, is a cut-down version of R:Base 3.1.
IBM Common User Acces
Both run in 450Kb of memory on IBM personal computers and compatibles, and are compliant with IBM’s Common User Access guidelines, but Personal R:Base is a single user version without a programming language – Personal R:Base comes with five applications and an applications express package to enable the user to build applications. Personal R:Base is being targeted for home office use on laptops – the person that takes work home to do and then comes into the office and offloads that work onto the office personal computer is the type of user Microrim expects to buy the product. The company claims that all the data and applications that run on Personal R:Base can be used on R:Base 3.1 with no translation, while it can also read and write dBase III and III Plus files directly and update dBase index files. The product has a recommended retail price of UKP250, but until March 31 there is an introductory price offer of UKP100. Microrim UK, which is based in Bracknell, hopes to have the product available in the UK before Christmas. In the US Noonan says that the company has already sold 15,000 units of Personal R:Base into the sales channel over the past couple of weeks. At present Microrim has no OEM deals, but this is something that Noonan wants to rectify by striking a deal with a quality hardware distributor. Noonan says he has had no acquisition offers for the privately held company, but thinks that once Microrim’s profile is raised, in a year or so, offers will start to come. Indeed, the acquisition of Microrim would be an attractive proposition for many a hardware vendor, particularly with all that research and development investment work sitting and waiting in the laboratory. – Katy Ring