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Encyclopedia > Wang Laboratories
Wang Laboratories
Wang logo circa 1976
Type Incorporation
Founded Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (1951)
Headquarters Tewksbury, Massachusetts , USA (1963-1976)
Lowell, Massachusetts, USA (1976-1997)
Key people Dr. An Wang (Founder)
Industry Computer hardware
Products Word Processors, Minicomputers, Microcomputers
Revenue NA
Employees NA

Image:wanglogo.png
Wang logo circa 1976.

Wang logo circa 1990 Not GFDL. Corporate logo of Wang Laboratories, Incorporated. ... Incorporation (abbreviated Inc. ... Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1630 Incorporated 1636 Government  - Type Mayor-council city  - Mayor Kenneth Reeves (D) Area  - City  7. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...   Tewksbury is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. ... Nickname: Motto: Art is the Handmaid of Human Good Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1653 Incorporated 1826 A city 1836 Government  - Type Manager-City council  - Mayor William F. Martin, Jr. ... Dr. An Wang (Chinese: ; pinyin: Wáng Ä€n; February 7, 1920 – March 24, 1990) was a Chinese American computer engineer and inventor, and co-founder of computer company Wang Laboratories. ... Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. ... A word processor (also more formally known as a document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of viewable or printed material. ... Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ... The Commodore 64 was one of the most popular microcomputers of its era, and is the best selling home computer of all time. ... Revenue is a U.S. business term for the amount of money that a company earns from its activities in a given period, mostly from sales of products and/or services to customers. ... For the album by the Kaiser Chiefs see Employment (album) Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. ... Wang logo circa 1990 Not GFDL. Corporate logo of Wang Laboratories, Incorporated. ...


Image:wanglogo1970.png
Wang logo circa 1970.

Usage restricted. Trademarks on this page belong to their owner. See Wikipedia:Image use policy.
Wang Laboratories logo circa 1970 Not GFDL. Corporate logo of Wang Laboratories incorporated. ...

Wang Laboratories was a computer company founded in 1951 by Dr. An Wang and Dr. G. Y. Chu. The company was successively headquartered in Cambridge (1954-1963), Tewksbury (1963-1976) and Lowell, Massachusetts (1976-1997). At its peak in the 1980s, it had revenues of $3 billion/year and employed over 30,000 people. 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Dr. An Wang (Chinese: ; pinyin: Wáng Ä€n; February 7, 1920 – March 24, 1990) was a Chinese American computer engineer and inventor, and co-founder of computer company Wang Laboratories. ... Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1630 Incorporated 1636 Government  - Type Mayor-council city  - Mayor Kenneth Reeves (D) Area  - City  7. ...   Tewksbury is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. ... Nickname: Motto: Art is the Handmaid of Human Good Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: , Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1653 Incorporated 1826 A city 1836 Government  - Type Manager-City council  - Mayor William F. Martin, Jr. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The company was always directed by Dr. Wang, who played a personal role in setting business strategy and product strategy and thus must be credited both with the company's successes and failures.


Dr. Wang took steps to ensure that the Wang family would retain control of the company even after going public. He created a second class of stock, class B, with higher dividends but only one-tenth the voting power of class C. The public mostly bought class B shares; the Wang family retained most of the class C shares. (The letters B and C were used to ensure that brokerages would fill any Wang stock orders with class B shares unless class C was specifically requested). Wang stock had been listed in the New York Stock Exchange, but this maneuver was not quite acceptable under NYSE's rules, and Wang was forced to delist with NYSE and relist on the more liberal American Stock Exchange. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), nicknamed the Big Board, is a New York City-based stock exchange. ... The American Stock Exchange (AMEX) is an American stock exchange situated in New York. ...


Under his direction, the company went through several distinct transitions between different product lines.

Contents

Typesetters

The company's first major project was an electronic phototypesetter, the Linasec, introduced in 1964. It was developed under contract to Compugraphic, which retained the rights to manufacture the machine without royalty. Compugraphic exercised these rights, effectively forcing Wang out of the market. Phototypesetting is a method of setting type with light (photo). ...


Calculators

The Wang LOCI-2 (there had been a LOCI-1 but it was not a real product) was introduced in 1965 and was probably the first desktop calculator capable of computing logarithms[citation needed], quite an achievement for a machine without any integrated circuits. The electronics included 1275 discrete transistors. It actually performed multiplication by adding logarithms, and roundoff in the display conversion was noticeable; 2 times 2 yielded 3.999999999.


From 1965 to about 1971, Wang was a calculator company, and a very well-regarded one. Wang calculators cost in the mid-four-figures, used Nixie tube readouts, performed transcendental functions, had varying degrees of programmability, and exploited magnetic core memory in ingenious ways. Competition included HP, which introduced the HP9100A in 1968, and old-line calculator companies such as Monroe and Marchant. The ten digits of a Z560M Nixie tube. ... A 16×16 cm area core memory plane of 128×128 bits, i. ... The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... The Monroe Calculator Company was a leading maker of adding machines and calculators founded in 1912 by Jay R. Monroe and now known as Monroe Systems for Business. ... The Marchant Calculating Machine Co. ...


Wang calculators were at first sold to scientists and engineers, but the company later won a solid niche in financial-services industries, which had previously relied on complicated printed tables for mortgages and annuities.


One perhaps apocryphal story tells of a banker who spot-checked a Wang calculator against a mortgage table and found a discrepancy. The calculator was right, the printed tables were wrong, and the company's reputation was made.


In the early seventies, Dr. Wang believed that calculators would become unprofitable low-margin commodities, and decided to exit the calculator business.


Word Processors

The Wang word processor was designed by Harold Koplow and David Moros, who began by first writing the user's manual. A 2002 Boston Globe article refers to Koplow as a "wisecracking rebel" who "was waiting for dismissal when, in 1975, he developed the product that made computers popularly accessible." A word processor (also more formally known as a document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of viewable or printed material. ... Harold Koplow was raised in Lynn, Massachusetts. ...


In Koplow's words, "Dr. Wang kicked me out of marketing. I, along with Dave Moros was relegated to Long Range Planning—'LRPed'. This ... was tantamount to being fired: 'here is a temporary job until you find another one in some other company.'"


Although he and Moros were told to design a word processing machine, they were given no resources[citation needed]. They perceived the assignment as busywork. They went ahead anyway, wrote the manual, and convinced Dr. Wang to turn it into a real project. The word processing machine—the Wang 1200 WPS—was introduced in June 1976 and was an instant success, as was its successor, the 1977 Wang OIS (Office Information System).


These products were technological breakthroughs. They were multi-user systems. Each workstation looked like a typical terminal but contained its own Z80 microprocessor and 64K of RAM (comparable in power to the original IBM PC which came out in 1981). Disk storage was centralized in a master unit and shared by the workstations, and connection was via high-speed dual coax "928 Link". Multiple OIS masters could be networked to each other, allowing file sharing among hundreds of users. The systems were user-friendly and fairly easy to administer, with the latter task often performed by office personnel, in an era when most machines required trained administrators. A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system. ... One of the first Z80 microprocessors manufactured; the date stamp is from June 1976. ... Coaxial Cable For the weapon, see coaxial weapon. ...


All software for the systems was developed by Wang Laboratories, and the operating system, file formats, and electronic interface specification were closely held proprietary secrets. Wang did not want third parties developing for or interconnecting with its systems. (This was relaxed somewhat in the late eighties).


Aggressive Marketing

In the late 1980s, a British television documentary accused the company of targeting a competitor, Canadian company AES Wordplex, in an attempt to take it out of the market. The documentary, made in the late 1980s, came to no conclusion.


Wang's approach was called internally "The Gas Cooker Program", named after similar programs to give discounts on old gas stoves when buying a new one. Wang was accused of targeting Wordplex by offering a large discount on Wang OIS systems with a trade-in of Wordplex machines, regardless of the age or condition of the trade-in machine.


Based on its good reputation with users and its program of aggressive discounts, Wang gained an increasing share of a shrinking market. Wordplex was subsequently taken over by Norsk Data. The characteristical ND dotted logo used from 1973 Norsk Data was a (mini-)computer manufacturer located in Oslo, Norway. ...


WP Market Collapse

The market for standalone word processing systems collapsed with the introduction of the personal computer, with MultiMate on the IBM PC replicating the interface and functions of the Wang word processor. MultiMate is a word processor developed by Softword Systems Inc. ...


The Digital Voice Exchange

The Wang DVX was one of the first integrated switchboard and voicemail systems. In the United Kingdom it was selected for the DTI Office Automation Pilot schemes at the National Coal Board in ~1980 PBX redirects here. ... Voicemail (or voice mail, vmail or VMS, sometimes called messagebank) is a centralized system of managing telephone messages for a large group of people. ... The Department of Trade and Industry is a United Kingdom government department. ... Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks and goals. ... The National Coal Board (NCB) was the nationalised British coal mining company. ...


PCs and PC Based Products

The Original Wang PC

The original Wang PC was released to counter the IBM PC which had gained wide acceptance in the market for which Wang traditionally positioned the OIS system. Based on the Intel 8086 microprocessor, it had a more sophisticated CPU than the IBM PC. A hardware/software package that permitted the Wang PC to act as a terminal to the OIS and VS products was quite popular.


However the biggest stumbling block was that it was not compatible with the IBM PC. Wang used a 16 bit data bus instead of the 8 bit data bus used by IBM. Wang argued that applications would run much faster since most operations required I/O (disk, screen, keyboard, printer) This meant that the vast library of software available for the IBM PC could not be directly run on the Wang PC. Only those programs that were either written specifically for the Wang PC or ported from the IBM PC were available. A basic word processing package developed by Wang and Microsoft's Multiplan spreadsheet were the two commonly marketed software products. This dearth of application software led to the early demise of the original Wang PC, and was replaced by an Intel 80286 based product that was fully plug compatible with the IBM PC. One of the first PCs from IBM - the IBM PC model 5150. ...


IBM Compatible Wang PCs

The Wang Laptop Computer

Wang Freestyle

Wang Freestyle[1][2] was a 1990 product consisting of:

  • A tablet and stylus for written annotation of any file that could be displayed on the PC
  • A phone handset for voice annotation, but not voice communication. Demonstrated strongly in conjunction with the tablet for explaining the text annotations
  • email, via Wang OFFICE, of the resulting document set.

The product was not a success in anything except marketing terms. The article on USC shows the symptoms of the failure: Wang OFFICE was the umbrella brand name for several suites of office automation software sold by Wang Labs in the 1980s and early 1990s. ... Doheny Library. ...

The $1.2 million USC system includes a VS 7150 mid-range computer; 30 image workstations, 25 with Freestyle capabilities; a laser printer; five endorsers; and five document scanners. Initial storage for document images is eight gigabytes of magnetic disk storage.

Only 25 of the stations were Freestyle stations. The system was so costly, even in the context of a Wang Integrated Imaging System, that Freestyle was only affordable for highly specialised or very senior staff. Apart from USC, unusual in that it was deployed at clerical level, it was sold as a C-Level[3] tool for C grades to communicate with other C Grades. This reduced the marketplace immediately from the mass market where the system would have been effective[4]


Wang 2200

On its journey from calculators and word processing to serious data processing Wang developed and marketed several lines of small computer system, some of which were WP-based and some of which were DP-based. Instead of a clear, linear progression, the product lines overlapped and in some cases borrowed technology from each other.


The most identifiable Wang minicomputer performing recognizable data processing was the Wang 2200 which appeared in May, 1973. Unlike some other desktop computers such as the HP 9830, it had a CRT in a cabinet that also included an integrated computer controlled cassette tape storage unit and keyboard. Microcoded to run interpretive BASIC, about 65,000 systems were shipped in its lifetime and it found wide use in small and medium-size businesses worldwide. The 2200 evolved into a desktop computer and larger system to support up to 16 workstations and utilized commercial disk technologies that appeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The disk subsystems could be attached to up to 15 computers giving a theoretical upper limit of 240 workstations in a single cluster. Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ... Wang logo circa 1976. ... The Hewlett-Packard HP 9830A was the top of the line of the 9800 series programmable calculators, introduced in 1972. ... For the meaning of cassette in genetics, see cassette (genetics). ... Screenshot of Atari BASIC, an early BASIC language for small computers. ... Desktop computer with several common peripherals (Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone and a printer) A desktop computer is a personal computer made for use on a desk in an office or home and is distinguished from portable computers such as laptops or PDAs. ...


Unlike the other product lines such as the VS and OIS, Wang aggressively used value added resellers (VARs) to customize and market 2200 systems. One such creative solution deployed dozens of 2200 systems and was developed in conjunction with Hawaii- and Hong Kong-based firm, Algorithms, Inc. It provided paging (beeper) services for much of the Hong Kong market in the early 1980s.


Overshadowed by the Wang VS, the 2200 languished as a cost-effective but forgotten solution in the hands of the customers who had it. In the late 1980s Wang revisited the 2200 for one last dip in the revenue well, offering 2200 customers a new 2200 CS with bundled maintenance for less than customers were then paying just for maintenance of their aging 2200 systems. The 2200 CS was accompanied by updated disk units and other peripherals, and most 2200 customers able to write their signatures on the contracts moved up to the 2200 CS, after which Wang dusted off its hands and never again developed or marketed any new 2200 products. In 1997 Wang reported having about 200 2200 systems still under maintenance around the world. Throughout, Wang had always offered maintenance services for the 2200.


Wang OIS

The Wang OIS (Office Information System) was heavily WP oriented and featured Wang's "Glossary" language, a system of programming that fitted into the WP model and was easy enough to master that secretaries commonly used Glossary to extend the functionality of the document management and manipulation provided by the OIS. Like the Wang 2200, the OIS was characterized by evolution into a 24-user system. Oddly, the OIS overlapped the Wang VS, and familiar features of the latter such a dual-coax connections to workstations and printers, were things migrated from the developing OIS to the VS. Buried deep in the VS microcode are entire pieces of OIS code, probably because WP did not figure into the original design of the VS but was added later. A microprogram is a program consisting of microcode that controls the different parts of a computers central processing unit (CPU). ...


Wang also had a line called Alliance, which was based on the high end OIS (140/145) hardware architecture. It had more powerful software as compared to the OIS word processing and list processing packages. The most significant enhancement was in the indexing capabilities of the Alliance system; documents could be indexed by every word contained in them. The database product, Visual Memory, permitted every word in each field to be indexed. In addition to the advanced indexing features, the Alliance word processor was also substantially enhanced, even though the Z80 platform on which it ran forced it to remain as an 8-bit application in a 64KB workstation.


The Wang VS computer line

The first Wang VS computer[5] was introduced in 1978, about the same time as Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX, and continues in use 27 years later. Its instruction set was compatible with the IBM 360 series but it did not run any IBM 360 system software. The VS operating system and all system software were built from the ground up to support interactive users as well as batch operations. The VS was aimed directly at the business data processing market in general, and IBM in particular. While many programming languages were available, the VS was typically programmed in COBOL. Other languages supported in the VS integrated development environment included Assembler, COBOL 74, COBOL 85, BASIC, Ada, RPG II, C, PL/I, FORTRAN, Glossary, MABASIC and Procedure (what would be called a scripting language in *nix systems). PASCAL was also supported for I/O coprocessor development. The Wang PACE (Professional Application Creation Environment) 4GL and database was used from the mid-1980s onward by customers and third party developers to build complex applications sometimes involving many thousands of screens, hundreds of distinct application modules, and serving many hundreds of users. Substantial vertical applications were developed for the Wang VS by third party software houses throughout the 1980s in COBOL, PACE, BASIC, PL/I and RPG II. The Wang OFFICE family of applications and Wang WP were both popular applications on the VS. Word Processing ran on the VS through services that emulated the OIS environment and downloaded the WP software as "microcode" (in Wang terminology) to VS workstations. The DEC logo Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. ... VAX is a 32-bit computing architecture that supports an orthogonal instruction set (machine language) and virtual addressing (i. ... It has been suggested that some sections of this article be split into a new article entitled instruction set architecture. ... The IBM System/360 (S/360) is a computer system family announced by International Business Machines on April 7, 1964. ... COBOL is a third-generation programming language, and one of the oldest programming languages still in active use. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... See the terminology section, below, regarding inconsistent use of the terms assembly and assembler. ... Ada is a structured, statically typed imperative computer programming language designed by a team led by Jean Ichbiah of CII Honeywell Bull under contract to the United States Department of Defense during 1977–1983. ... RPG or RPG IV is a native programming language for IBMs iSeries (aka AS400) minicomputer system. ... PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced pee el one) is an imperative computer programming language designed for scientific, engineering, and business applications. ... Fortran (previously FORTRAN[1]) is a general-purpose[2], procedural,[3] imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. ... The pascal (symbol: Pa) is the SI unit of pressure. ... A fourth-generation programming language (or 4GL) is a programming language designed with a specific purpose in mind such as the development of commercial business software. ... A vertical application or vertical market application, is software defined by requirements for a single, or narrowly defined, market. ... Wang OFFICE was the umbrella brand name for several suites of office automation software sold by Wang Labs in the 1980s and early 1990s. ...


The press and the industry referred to the class of machines made by Wang, including the VS, as "minicomputers,"[6][7][8] and Kenney's 1992 book refers to the VS line as "minicomputers" throughout.[9]. Although some argue that the high-end VSes and their successors should qualify as mainframes, Dr. Wang avoided this term. In his autobiography, Dr. Wang, rather than calling the VS 300 a mainframe, said that it "verges on mainframe performance."[10]. He went on to draw distinction between the "mainframes" at the high end of IBM's line ("just as Detroit would rather sell large cars ... so IBM would rather sell mainframes")—in which IBM had a virtual monopoly—with the "mid-sized systems" in which IBM had not achieved dominance: "The minicomputer market is still healthy. This is good for the customer and good for minicomputer makers."[11] Wang Laboratories positioned the VS line as minicomputers, and reflected this in its marketing collateral and press releases.[citation needed] Later models, the small VS5000 series, launched in approx 1988, were user installable, the smallest being physically similar in size to PCs of the era. The largest supported an increasingly substantial number of users. Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ...


Going after IBM

Dr. Wang felt a personal sense of rivalry with IBM, partly as a result of heavy-handed treatment by IBM in 1955-6 over the rights to his magnetic-core patents. (This encounter formed the subject of a long chapter in Wang's own book, Lessons.) According to Charles C. Kenney, "Jack Connors remembers being in Wang's office one day when the Doctor pulled out a chart on which he had plotted Wang's growth and projected that Wang Laboratories would overtake IBM sometime in the middle of the 1990s. 'He had kept it a long time,' says Connors. 'And he believed it.'"


Wang was one of the first computer companies to advertise on television, and the first to run an ad during the Super Bowl. Their first ad literally cast Wang Laboratories as David and IBM as Goliath. A later ad depicted Wang Laboratories as a helicopter gunship taking aim at IBM. The winning Super Bowl team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy. ...


Wang wanted to compete against IBM as a computer company, selling directly to MIS departments. Before the VS, however, Wang Laboratories was not taken seriously as a computer company. The calculators, word processing systems and OIS were sold into individual departments, bypassing the corporate data-processing decision-makers. The chapter in Wang's book dealing with them shows that he saw them only as "a beachhead in the Fortune 1000." The Wang VS was Wang's entrée into IT departments. In his book, Dr. Wang notes that, to sell the VS, "we aggressively recruited salesmen with strong backgrounds in data processing... who had experience dealing with MIS executives, and who knew their way around Fortune 1000 companies." As the VS took hold, the word processor and OIS lines were phased out. The word processing software continued, in the form of a loadable-microcode environment that allowed VS workstations to take on the behavior of traditional Wang WP terminals to operate with the VS and use it as a document server. Management Information Systems (MIS) is a general name for the academic discipline covering the application of people, technologies, and procedures—collectively, the information system—to business problems. ... Data processing is any computer process that converts data into information or knowledge. ... It has been suggested that Fortune 500 be merged into this article or section. ... A microprogram is a program consisting of microcode that controls the different parts of a computers central processing unit (CPU). ...


Wang made inroads into IBM and DEC markets in the 1980s, but didn't have a serious impact on IBM's mainframe market due to self-limiting factors. Even though Dr. Wang wanted to compete with IBM, too many Wang salespeople were incompletely trained on the significant DP capabilities of the VS. In many instances the VS ran smaller enterprises up to about $500 million/year and in larger organizations found use as a gateway to larger corporate mainframes, handling workstation pass-through and massive print services.


At Exxon Company USA, for instance, 13 1985-top-of-the-line VS300s at the Houston headquarters were used in the 1980s and into the 1990s to receive mainframe reports and make them viewable online by executives.


At Mellon Mortgage 18 VS systems from the smallest to the largest were used as the enterprise mortgage origination, servicing, finance, documentation and hedge system and also for mainframe gateway services for logon and printing. Between Mellon Mortgage and parent Mellon Bank, their network contained 45 VS systems and the Bank portion of the network supported about 16,000 Wang Office users for email, report distribution and scheduling.


At Kent and KTec Electronics, two related Houston companies, separate VS clusters were the enterprise systems, handling distribution, manufacturing and accounting, with significant EDI capability for receiving customer forecasts, sending invoices, and sending purchase orders and receiving shipping notifications. Both systems ran the GEISCO EDI package. Kent, which grew to $600 million/year, ran the Arcus distribution software in COBOL and KTec, which grew to $250 million/year, ran the CAELUS MRP system for manufacturing in BASIC.


The high water mark of the VS in the marketplace was probably about 30,000 systems operating worldwide at one time in the mid-to-late 1980s, serving at least several million desktop users[citation needed].


Decline and fall

A common view within the PC community is that the company failed because it specialized in computers designed specifically for word processing and did not foresee (and was unable to compete against) general personal computers with word processing software in the 1980s. However word processing was not the mainstay of Wang's business by the time desktop computers began to gain in popularity. Although Wang manufactured desktops, its main business by the 1980s was its VS line of mini-computer and "midframe" systems. However, the market for these mini-computers was ultimately conquered by enhanced micro-computers like the Apple Macintosh and the "wintel" PC on one end and Sun, IBM and Hewlett-Packard servers on the other end. Word processing, in its now-usual meaning, is the use of a word processor to create documents using computers. ... Wintel is a term used to describe desktop computers and servers of the type commonly used in homes and businesses since the late 1980s (these are PC compatible computers running a version of Microsoft Windows). ...


Dr. Wang's insistence that his son, Fred Wang, succeed him contributed to the company's failure. Fred Wang was a business school graduate, "but by almost any definition," wrote Charles C. Kenney, "unsuited for the job in which his father had placed him." His assignment, first as head of research and development, then as president of the company, led to jealousy and to resignations by key R&D and business personnel.


One turning point occurred when Fred Wang was head of R&D. On October 4, 1983, Wang Laboratories announced fourteen major hardware and software products, and promised dates of delivery. The announcement was well received, but even at the time there were warning signs. According to Datamation, Wang announced "everything but the kitchen sink. And if you could attach the kitchen sink to a personal computer they would announce that too."[12] Very few of the products were close to completion and many of them had not even been started. All were delivered late and some were never delivered at all. In retrospect this was referred to as the "vaporware announcement" and it hurt the credibility of Fred Wang and Wang Laboratories. October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Datamation was a computer magazine published in the United States between 1957 and 1997. ... Vaporware is software or hardware product which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle. ...


In 1986 Fred Wang, then 36 years old, was installed as president of Wang Laboratories. On August 4th, 1989, Dr. Wang fired his son. Richard W. Miller replaced him as the president of Wang Laboratories, having been with the company since 1988.


Miller announced in December 1989 that the company would start to embrace established software standards, rather than use traditional proprietary designs. An Wang died in March 1990. The company underwent massive restructuring, and in August 1990, it eliminated its bank debt, but still ended the year with a record net loss.


In November 1990, they announced their first personal computers running Unix. Wang's presence in the Unix and open systems markets has been modest. UNIX ran on the VS, but as an emulation running under the VSOS, and thus had major performance challenges. PACE, which offered its data dictionary, excellent referential integrity, and speedy application development, was not ported to UNIX, nor were plans made to port it there. Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®) is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ... Open systems are computer systems that provide either interoperability, portability, or freedom from proprietary standards, depending on users perspective. ... A data dictionary is a set of metadata that contains definitions and representations of data elements. ... An example of a database that has not enforced referential integrity. ...


Ira Magaziner, who was brought in by Miller in 1990, proposed to take Wang out of the manufacture of computers altogether, and to go big into imaging software instead. In March 1991, the company introduced its Office 2000 marketing strategy, focusing on office productivity. Ira Magaziner (born November 8, 1947?[1]) was an aide to President Clinton and later became his chief Internet policy advisor. ...


In June 1991 Wang started reselling IBM computers, in exchange for IBM investing into Wang stock. Wang hardware strategy to re-sell IBM RS/6000s also included further pursuit of UNIX software. The IBM pSeries, formerly called RS/6000 (for RISC System/6000), is IBMs current RISC/UNIX-based workstation and server computer line. ...


In August 1991, they won a suit against NEC and Toshiba which violated Wang's patents on single in-line memory modules (SIMMs). The company still recorded a net loss for the 1991 fiscal year. NEC Corporation (Japanese 日本電気株式会社 Nippon Denki Kabushiki Gaisha; TYO: 6701 , NASDAQ: NIPNY) is a multi-national information technologies company headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. ... Toshiba Corporations headquarters (Center) in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo Toshiba Corporation sales by division for year ending March, 31 2005 Toshiba Corporation ) (TYO: 6502 ) is a multinational high technology electrical and electronics manufacturing firm, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. ... A SIMM is an older type of memory module used for RAM in personal computers. ...


Wang Laboratories filed for bankruptcy protection on August 18, 1992. August 18 is the 230th day of the year (231st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ...


The three Wang towers in Lowell, which originally cost $60 million to build and housed 4,500 workers in over a million square feet (100,000 m²) of office space, were foreclosed and sold for $525,000. Wang itself would have bought the towers property at the foreclosure sale but no one at Wang had anticipated that the final price would be so low, and so an opportunity to reacquire the towers was lost.


Richard Miller stepped down as as chairman and chief executive officer in January 1993, and moved to AT&T. AT&T Inc. ...


Post-bankruptcy

The company emerged from bankruptcy a year or two later with $200 million in hand and embarked on a course of acquisition and self-reinvention, eschewing its former role as an innovative designer and manufacturer of computer and related systems. Later in the 1990s with the acquisition of the Olsy division of Olivetti the company changed its name to Wang Global. By then Wang had settled on "network services" as its chosen business. Olivetti Lettera 22, 1950 Ing. ...


In 1999 Wang Global, by then back up to $3.5 billion in annual revenues, was acquired by Getronics of The Netherlands, a $1.5 billion network services company active only in parts of Europe and Australia. Getronics N.V. (Euronext: GTN) is an international Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Company focused on Workspace Management Services, including Application Services. ...


The Wang VS product line, not actively marketed since the 1992 bankruptcy and now a tiny portion of the Getronics business, survives to this day (February 2006) with 1,000 to 2,000 systems worldwide. The most advanced legacy VS model, capable of supporting over 1,000 users -- the VS18000 Model 950 -- was released in 1999, and smaller models based on the same CPU chip were released in 2000 -- the VS6760 and the VS6780. A new line of Wang VS was introduced in 2005 using completely new hardware.


Rebirth of the Wang VS

In 2005 Getronics announced New VS, a product that is said to seamlessly run the VS OS and all VS software. It is based on a hardware abstraction layer for Intel x86 and IBM POWER. The product is a joint commercial effort of Getronics and TransVirtual Systems, developer of the virtualization technology used. In 2006 the New VS was officially designated the "VS22000" family by Getronics, with eighteen model variants of packaging and performance available from both companies.


Wang VS conversions (or "migrations") have historically been fraught with difficulties, risk, and cost. Wang VS OS, workstation, compiler language and database functionality have usually embodied extensions that have been difficult to duplicate in target systems for replatforming. VS software can be run on the New VS, however, without program or data conversion.


The New VS consists of virtualization software running on specially configured hardware platforms and standard Wang VS system software. Though built from mainstream PC or PowerPC server hardware, the requirements for very specific configurations require that the hardware platform be provided or approved by Getronics and TransVirtual Systems.


The New VS is capable of interoperating with SCSI-based Wang VS tape and disk drives, which provide a means of restoring VS files from standard backup tapes or copying VS disk drives. It can also share multihost RAID with a legacy VS for high-speed file transfer. Wang networking and clustering are supported using TCP/IP instead of legacy VS synchronous lines and dedicated FDDI.


The New VS reportedly runs VS software with higher CPU and disk I/O performance than the fastest legacy VS, the VS18950, released in 1999.


Notes and references

  1. ^ Wang Freestyle at The University of Southern California in 1990
  2. ^ Open Learning and New Technology - Proceedings of a conference conducted by the Australian Society for Educational Technology WA Chapter at Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, on 29-30 June 1990. (search for "Freestyle")
  3. ^ C-Level refers to "Chief level" officers in an organisation
  4. ^ Assume 10 C-level officers per Fortune 1000 organisation. Market size is 10,000 units. Assume 1000 ordinary clerical workers in the same organisation. Market size is 1,000,000 units.
  5. ^ Referring to the VS, Wang appears to have used the terms "computer," "minicomputer," "super minicomputer," and "multiprocessor computer," but not "mainframe."[citation needed]
  6. ^ Berg, Eric N. (1985), "Fast Prime Computer to Make Debut," The New York Times, January 22, 1985, d1: "The Prime model should also face stiff competition from other new high-speed minicomputers, such as the Data General Corporation's MV 10000, Wang Laboratories Inc.'s VS 300, and the International Business Machines Corporation's 4381 Model 3"
  7. ^ Stein, Charles (1986): "A High-Tech David Faltered as Goliath," The Boston Globe, November 27, 1989, Business section, p. 1: "the VS-300, a top of the line minicomputer Wang brought out in 1985..."
  8. ^ Rosenberg, Robert (1992): "Company Fumbles Its Alliance with Giant IBM," The Boston Globe, July 28, 1992, Business section, p. 37: "a steep decline in sales of its VS minicomputer and the recession generally, has pushed the Lowell computer maker to the brink"
  9. ^ Kenney, Charles C. (1992). "Riding the Runaway Horse: The Rise and Decline of Wang Laboratories". Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-48919-0. : index entry p. 320, pp 97-9, and elsewhere
  10. ^ Wang, An; with Eugene Linden (1986). Lessons: An Autobiography. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-09400-2. , p. 206
  11. ^ Wang, An; with Eugene Linden (1986). Lessons: An Autobiography. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-09400-2. , p. 213
  12. ^ Stein, Charles (1986): "A High-Tech David Faltered as Goliath," The Boston Globe, November 27, 1989, Business section, p. 1: "if you could attach the kitchen sink, they would announce that too...."

It has been suggested that Fortune 500 be merged into this article or section. ... January 22 is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Wang Laboratories - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3661 words)
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Wang calculators were at first sold to scientists and engineers, but the company later won a solid niche in financial-services industries, which had previously relied on complicated printed tables for mortgages and annuities.
Wang was one of the first computer companies to advertise on television, and the first to run an ad during the Super Bowl.
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