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Update on Corporate Directions
March 28, 1990
Dear Symbolics Customer:
I would like to give you an update of recent events at
Symbolics and review our major product plans and initiatives.
Last year, I published a statement of our Corporate Directions
to both meet urgent customer needs and to reach new markets
based on four initiatives. These were: 1) to support our
customers with cost-effective, standards-based products for
application development and delivery; 2) to continue to develop
advanced object-based software products; 3) to offer our
consulting expertise to accelerate our customers' success with
Symbolics-based projects; and 4) to reach new customers in growing
markets by developing turn-key application products, like our
graphics products, that leverage our technology for non-programmer
We have made real progress on this plan. Over the last twelve
months we've introduced symbolic processing add-in boards for
the Sun and Macintosh workstations and added-color graphics
support for both our VME-based XL400 workstation and our MacIvory
system. We've improved the performance of this Macintosh-based
system by over 1.5 times. We've shipped the first phase of our
software-only delivery products for personal computers. And we've
grown our consulting organization by six-fold.
While I am pleased with the progress, we have more work to do to
make our customers successful with their Symbolics-based applications.
We have three short-term priorities.
Commitment to complete our high-performance, software-only
delivery environment by year end. CLOE, our existing software-only
delivery product, allows Common Lisp applications to run on IBM PC/2s
or other Intel 80386-based personal computers without special hardware.
The next release of CLOE, Release 3.0 available this summer, will
support more sophisticated applications, using the CLOS object-oriented
programming language and the CLIM user interface management system.
By year end this product will be available on popular workstations.
As evidence of our commitment to CLOE, we have dedicated leading
members of our technical staff, including David Moon, Paul Robertson
and Ken Sinclair, to this project.
Industry-standard development environment for application
portability . We have just announced Genera 8.0 which will be
available next month. One focus of this release is to address
the development of applications using industry standards. Genera
8.0 includes support for CLOS, the emerging ANSI standard object
system. It also includes a development tool, the Common Lisp
Developer. This release will run on all Symbolics machines to ease
development of applications. CLIM support will follow in the next
ECO release to Genera 8.0.
Dramatic price/performance improvements. Symbolics has accelerated
work on performance enhancements and restructured our pricing to provide
industry-competitive price/performance. We will shortly announce a
new workstation with three times the speed of our fastest processor at
2/3 off the original list price. This new workstation uses a faster
processor based on Rev. 4.0 of our Ivory processor chip. We also have
committed to developing a next-generation Ivory chip which will make
even greater system performance gains possible.
Recently we announced new pricing with reductions of up to 30% on
selected configurations and with easy options to upgrade the performance
of your existing systems. Symbolics can now guarantee both industry
competitive price/performance along with superior development productivity
using our object-oriented software.
We intend to maintain our price/performance advantage and our support
for standards-based software solutions. Our goal is to make our technology
available to more people through turn-key applications and consulting.
To this end, we recently announced the formation of five business units
which will concentrate on key markets where Symbolics' technology has
enabled leading customers to succeed. These markets are: symbolic-based
computing, graphics, hypertext documentation preparation and retrieval,
interactive scheduling and planning (IS &P) and symbolic mathematical computing.
I've reviewed our plans for the symbolic computing market. I will briefly
review our plans for the other business units.
Our graphics unit will focus on developing high performance graphic
processors and improving the performance and functionality of its
animation software for production users and the new corporate and engineering
marketplaces. On March 19th, we announced FrameThrower, the industry's first
commercially available, high-definition video graphics processor and the
XL400 high-definition Colorstation, the industry's first all-in-one HDTV
workstation. These two breakthrough products will enable our customers
to develop high-performance, high-definition applications that can conform
to current and future standards.
The hypertext unit will focus on enhancing the functionality and user
interface of Concordia, our hypertext software. To make this advanced
product more accessible and cost-effective within commercial organizations,
we will shortly announce a PC-based document examiner.
Our interactive scheduling and planning (IS &P) unit will assist major
customers to successfully deliver their scheduling and planning applications
by integrating all our advanced technology: symbolic computing, expert systems,
advanced user interface, hypertext, graphics and networking. Some of these
applications may become products for new customers.
Finally, the symbolic mathematical computing unit will deliver its premier
product, Macsyma, to more platforms building on the success of its newest
CLOE-based PC version and support for a variety of minis and workstations.
Because we are transitioning to new products and business areas in a difficult
economic climate, we have anticipated quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in our
financial results. We announced a loss in our second quarter and expect a similar
loss in our third quarter. In response, we have implemented expense reduction
programs, which include a consolidation of our organization, that will allow us
to realize a yearly savings of over five million dollars. We have no debt,
an unused credit line, a solid cash position, and we believe that we have
sufficient resources to complete our transition.
Within the next few weeks you will hear more about new products and programs
from our business units. I also plan to be visiting many customers over
the next few months and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and
discuss your specific needs. We are excited about our product strategy
and the opportunity to put it to work for our customers.
John S. Wurts
Chairman of the Board, Chief
Executive Officer and President