Where Sun Means To Be A Bigger Fireball

When Northwest Airlines Inc. acquired Republic Airlines Inc. in 1986, it bought a big headache. Northwest had to track revenue from nearly twice as many tickets but couldn't afford new mainframe computers to automate the process. Finally, the company settled on a better alternative: a network of 600 souped-up desktop computers from Sun Microsystems Inc. With the workstations, the airline can automatically analyze every ticket for proper pricing instead of just checking 10%, as it had in the past. That capability, which lets Northwest bill travel agents for every underpriced ticket, will help pay for the recently completed multimillion-dollar Sun network in just a few months, the airline says.

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