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Chapter 10 - Networking: Market Competition 1981-1983

10.15 Concord Data Systems

Ken Miller’s decision to focus first on the emerging V.22 dial-up modem opportunity scored an early win. Their distributor in the U. K. started taking product in December 1981. Then in May 1982, they won a major order from the Swedish P.T.T for $2.7 million. In winning, they beating out L. M. Ericsson, Vadic,9 Siemens, and Nokia. Miller recalls:

It was a big win. We beat out Vadic. There was shock at Vadic from that. Total shock! Who the hell are they? There were shock waves all over Europe with this new player out there: Concord Data Systems. We were also very fortunate at the time because Codex had a policy of going direct in many countries. They were sort of tying in with Four Phase10 and Motorola, going with one entity, one business unit in each country. And the distributors weren’t dumb. They wanted alternative products. Plus the fact that Codex had no dial-up modems, and the only one in the Motorola family was UDS [Universal Data Systems], and UDS had never paid attention to international. So we could get signed up with Codex distributors and not have a conflict because they didn’t have any dial-up modems.

The success in modems immediately impacted their LAN plans. Miller, wanting someone else to manage engineering, brought Ross Seider aboard as vice-president of Engineering. Only his two modem engineers rebelled. Feeling trapped by his commitments to Seider and the venture capitalists, Miller compromised and split engineering into two groups. While not the solution he preferred, his prior experience with a departmentalized structure at Codex gave him comfort the structure could work. He recalls:

Ross Seider, the guy from Codex, became VP of Engineering for LANs. Maybe they were a little bit prima donnas, but the two modem engineers, Northam and Kameya, didn’t want to work for Seider. So there was from the beginning a split in engineering.

Seider worked in Boston, while Phinney, the expert in token bus LAN’s, worked in Phoenix. Phinney began adding staff in Phoenix, first hiring Bob Douglas.

Miller, meanwhile, had been working closely with the engineers at Amdax and held hopes that they would have a close corporate relationship.

  • [9]

    Technically, Vadic is Racal-Vadic, having been acquired by Racal in 1978.

  • [10]

    The computer subsidiary of Motorola.