Data Communications: Market Competition 1969-1972
Modems and Multiplexers
3.11 ADS Falls on Hard Times: 1971-1972
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for ADS as the
company struggled unsuccessfully to perfect its automatically equalizing 4800
bps modem. Hit simultaneously with plummeting multiplexer sales due to a weakening
time-sharing market, ADS reeled under a succession of bad results turning worse.
By the September 1971 Board of Directors meeting, everyone expected management
changes. Rockwell, asserting its ownership rights, replaced the President named
the prior year with another Rockwell executive and fired co-founder Schaaf. The
discouraging results from ADS did not deter Rockwell in September 1971 from
acquiring controlling interest of Collins Radio, an organization that, in theory,
competed with ADS and had estimated sales of modems and multiplexers of $2 million in 1972.
As 1971 gave way to 1972 and one month ground into the next
with no pick-up in activity, ADS sank ever more deeply into the ranks of the also
rans. After the habitual ax-wielding September Board meeting, Rockwell executives
had had it. They fired Wilkes, cut the company back to a bare minimum, and tasked
Norred with selling the shell of a company to whomever for whatever. ADS, the
first true star of data communications, had overreached by trying to do too many
things without sufficient capital and management and engineering.