Chapter 13 - Data Communications: Adaptation 1979-1986
In 1986, Micom management was not oblivious of the T-1 market. They read the same reports as everyone else. They simply thought that their customers did not require the bandwidth of T-1 and, in any case, they had more than enough on their plate to pursue a new major product direction. The acquisition of Interlan in 1985 and its integration was proving all-consuming. Then in the spring of 1987, Bill Norred decided it was time to step down and give management control to Roger Evans, who became President and CEO. In the Annual Report for 1987, dated May 28, 1987, Evans and his new management team wrote:
We plan to enter the T-1 market and widen our product line during fiscal 1988 to address this market, the most rapidly growing segment of the data communications market today.
Then just as they had with LANs, Micom entered the T-1 market by acquisition, taking on the struggling Spectrum Digital for $19.4 million. Evans comments:
If we had embarked on a T-1 product development plan two years ago, we would for sure have tailored it to a lower end application and I don’t think it would have been successful. The Spectrum product is ideal for our requirements, because our customers have smaller networking applications, but they are technically astute buyers in a way that the typical IBM customer isn’t so much. So what we spec’ed, and then found Spectrum met, was an NET level of functionality in a smaller package, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the technology we found as a fit for that.
Their problems would be more than a product, however, as noted in an article in Data Communications in August 1987:
Micom must overcome a lack of experience in T-1 networking and a shortage of qualified sales personnel to be successful in the very competitive market.26
Economic Newsletter, Data Communications, August 1987, p.33