Intergraph Is Whistling Anchors AweighChuck Hawkins
Intergraph Corp. doesn't usually spring to mind as a hot manufacturer of computer workstations. People tend to think first of Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, or DEC in that $9.2 billion market. But don't tell that to the U. S. Navy. It recently decided to spend $362.4 million with the Huntsville (Ala.) company for 2,800 workstations, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software, and related services. That's a big endorsement for Intergraph, for years a favorite with architects, construction engineers, and mapmakers. But more important, it's an in-your-face rebuttal to critics who have derided Intergraph Chairman James W. Meadlock's stubborn attachment to a line of homegrown workstations that use a little-known RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) microprocessor called Clipper. Intergraph builds the chip for itself and only a handful of customers. That lack of buyers, say critics, spells eventual trouble. Over the long term, they figure, Clipper-related sales won't be enough to pay for ongoing improvements to the chip.
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