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State of Symbolics Business
April 30, 1991
Dear Symbolics Customer,
I would like to take this opportunity to brief you about the
state of Symbolics' business, our accomplishments over the last 12
months and our plans for the near future.
Throughout the 80s, our customers invested in Symbolics'
technology for their research organizations and advanced technology
groups. In the 90s, this investment has paid off with breakthrough
applications. For many customers the savings are over $10 million
each year. Other customers report dramatic productivity improvements
and new competitive advantage. For the United States government, a
Symbolics application coordinated Desert Storm air sorties.
Today, Symbolics is redoubling its efforts to help customers
to complete their advanced applications and achieve benefits like the
At a major semi-conductor manufacturer, we've helped with the
deployment of a sophisticated scheduling application for their manu-
facturing facility which has improved their manufacturing utilization
for custom chip delivery.
At Lufthansa, cargo scheduling is optimized with an expert
scheduling system that maximizes cargo yield and customer satisfaction.
At Houston Lighting and Power, a Symbolics scheduling system
has reduced plant maintenance down-time and increased maintenance
A major building automation firm is deploying a knowledge-based
design system throughout their U.S. branch engineering offices. This
system, built on our MacIvory workstation, dramatically improves engineer-
Recently we've helped to expand the Authorizer's Assistant at
American Express. This system approves all U.S. Green and Gold card
transactions for the Company, handling millions of dollars of credit
daily without human intervention. Today, 23 Symbolics XL 1200 systems
are used to keep the Authorizer's Assistant available 24 hours a day.
Several major Symbolic-based applications assisted the allied forces
in Operation Desert Storm. While only two can be discussed publicly,
Templar, a tactical mission planner for flight sortie planning, and a
MacIvory-based warfare planner model used by the Navy in the Gulf, other
classified Symbolics' applications assisted in a variety of communications,
command and control operations. The importance of Templar and expert systems
in the Gulf is highlighted in a recent New York Times article which I've
included with this letter.
Symbolics Graphics division serves the international professional
video production and broadcast industry with turn-key animation systems.
Our Unified Graphics are being used by the largest television and film
producers in the world. Recently Symbolics' systems were used by CNN-
Headline News to produce this network's "War In The Gulf" news graphics
These applications highlight our ability to solve today's business
needs and characterize the kind of business that Symbolics intends to pursue
in the future. We are particularly focused on pursuing customer-funded develop-
ment in two areas: adding the power of our Genera development environment to
standard operating systems and assisting users to get Symbolics-based applications
As an example of these development partnerships, today we are in the
process of finalizing an agreement with AT&T Bell Laboratories. Together we
will prototype an object-oriented processor and software system. For a major
domestic airline, we are developing a decision support system built with
object-oriented technology, for deployment on OS-2 and UNIX platforms.
Over the past 3 years, because of increased competition, a maturing
LISP market and poor U.S. economic conditions, Symbolics has faced financial
challenges. We've met these challenges with a strategy to broaden our markets
and apply our expertise in object-oriented technology to industry problems in
standard operating environments. We've introduced more powerful products and
instituted on-going cost containment programs. Many customers have asked if
we have the resources to continue with our business plans. I'm happy to report
that despite the poor business climate we have a sound financial base.
We have finalized a new line of credit and hold no long-term debt.
Our cash position is good and we continue to make progress towards a
positive cash flow and profitability.
We signed a licensing agreement worth over $3.9 million with a Japanese
consortium headed by Nichimen.
Product sales of our newest Ivory-based workstations and boards have
exceeded our plan.
Quarterly consulting revenues have increased by over 400% from a year ago.
To support our plans, we've built a new organization. We've formed
the Software Engineering Group which provides all the resources for field sales,
service, consulting, and development in one business unit. I've appointed
Kenneth J. Tarpey to lead this unit as vice president and general manager.
Ken brings both customer-oriented management experience from Computervision
and Prime and an international consulting background from Price Waterhouse.
Going forward, we will aggressively seek opportunities for putting our
industry and technological expertise to work on a variety of customer projects.
With an increasing demand for rapid prototyping tools, the flexibility of
object-oriented software, and system engineering talent that can implement
complex projects, we feel we are well positioned to offer comprehensive
customer solutions. We look forward to the opportunity to put our unique
skills to work for your organization.
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President