Phase II Software Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is gaining mostly indirect benefits from its involvement with the giant Air Force Communications and Command contract, won by AT&T at the end of last year and variously estimated to be worth up to UKP4,500 in total. Phase II is a spin-off from VenturCom Inc, developer of the Prelude […]
Phase II Software Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is gaining mostly indirect benefits from its involvement with the giant Air Force Communications and Command contract, won by AT&T at the end of last year and variously estimated to be worth up to UKP4,500 in total. Phase II is a spin-off from VenturCom Inc, developer of the Prelude office automation software package chosen as part of AT&T’s package to the Air Force, and the new company now handles support for the contract and new software development for Prelude, under president Bill Spencer. But AT&T negotiated a site licence for Prelude, meaning that even though sales of AT&T 3B systems are now picking up after a slow start, Phase II will not see a corresponding rise in its own revenues. In fact, even the site licence fees go to VenturCom as the original developers of Prelude. But2according to Spencer, both support and side effects of winning the contract are proving more lucrative for the company, which employs eight staff. Prelude was chosen by AT&T as a distinctive solution from other bidders, who all opted for the rival Uniplex package. A major selling point was Prelude’s integration capabilities – having been built on top of an applications development environment, the product had the capabilities of closely integrating the other products included in the successful bid: the Telnos word processor from Paris-based Telnos SA; Masterplan project management from Quality Software Products, Beverly Hills, California; a diary program from Unisource Software Corp, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a consistent interface for the whole system, developed by AT&T itself. Currently focused on 3B systems, Phase II would benefit more if the contract were extended to include AT&T’s new 80386-based machines sourced from Intel Corp – a distinct possibility, according to some observers. A diskless version of the 80386 machine, used as an intelligent terminal, is part of the contract specification. Meanwhile Phase II is working on other large contracts, including systems for the US Department of Agriculture in conjunction with Electronic Data Systems Corp. And it is working on extensions to the Prelude suite, including a Hypercard facility and a new bit-mapped graphics version – current graphics versions use X Window. Prelude is primarily a Unix-based product, but includes MS-DOS conversion utilities for the most popular personal computer word processors and spreadsheets.