A Year Ago: Sequent suffers Wintel pangs

First published: Wed, 28 Jul 1998 06:56:32 GMT

Sequent is continuing to feel the pangs of change as it moves closer to Wintel through its strategy of building Intel-based products that run Windows NT as well as Digital Unix for sale into smaller accounts than its traditional data centre base.

The company Tuesday announced losses of $85.1m (£51.83m) before tax on revenues of $185.7m (£113.24m). Those numbers included a one-off restructuring charge of $62.9m (£38.35m). A year ago, Sequent earned $8.6m (£5.24m) on $210.7m (£128.47m) in revenues. The loss comes as Sequent's tries to reposition itself as a broader computer supplier to the mid-range as well as the data centre. President and chief operating officer John McAdam said in a prepared statement that European sales were "well below plan".

"These results were very much as expected," said Sequent UK managing director Paul Kelly. "The decision we took was to change our business model from high-end systems and large projects because we found that was leading to lumpy, clunky sales figures that were difficult to predict."

Kelly said Sequent is now successfully penetrating new as well as old accounts with mid-range products. Sequent is already shipping a protoype product, the Numa-Q 2000, that can run both Windows NT and Digital Unix, allowing customers to evaluate and implement NT on the same box as existing Unix processes. It claims sales of over 800 NumaCenter systems including over 200 in the UK where NatWest, BT, One-To-One and the Employment Service are customers.

Sequent expects to have servers based on Intel's Pentium II Xeon processor ready in October. However, Kelly said it will be the arrival of Intel's Merced chip - now expected in mid-2000 - that he expects to provide a "step change in computing power and a fundamental shift in the industry".

Sequent also said it had opened an NT-dedicated engineering centre in Bellevue, Washington where it works with Microsoft developers on the big push to put NT into the data centre.

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