Datapoint

Datapoint

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Datapoint Corporation, originally known as Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC), was a computer company based in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Founded in 1967 by Phil Ray and Gus Roche, its first products were, as the company's initial name suggests, computer terminal
Computer terminal
A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system...

s (intended to replace Teletype
Teletype Corporation
The Teletype Corporation, a part of American Telephone and Telegraph Company's Western Electric manufacturing arm since 1930, came into being in 1928 when the Morkrum-Kleinschmidt Company changed its name to the name of its trademark equipment...

 machines connected to time sharing systems). In October 1969, the company raised US$4 million through an Initial Public Offering (IPO)
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

.

Early years; CTC's role in computer history


CTC created one of the first computer terminals, the Datapoint 3300
Datapoint 3300
The DataPoint 3300 was the first computer terminal manufactured by the Computer Terminal Corporation , announced in 1967 and shipping in 1969...

, which went on sale in 1969 and sold very successfully for a number of years. It was rebadged as the DEC VT06 and the HP 2600A.


CTC is credited by some historians with accidentally inventing the personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

. Its most popular product, the Datapoint 2200
Datapoint 2200
The Datapoint 2200 was a mass-produced programmable terminal, designed by Phil Ray and Gus Roche, announced by Computer Terminal Corporation in June, 1970...

, was a programmable terminal that could load various emulations stored on cassette tapes. Some users of the terminals chose to use them as simple programmable computers instead.

The Datapoint 2200 also led to the development of the first 8-bit
8-bit
The first widely adopted 8-bit microprocessor was the Intel 8080, being used in many hobbyist computers of the late 1970s and early 1980s, often running the CP/M operating system. The Zilog Z80 and the Motorola 6800 were also used in similar computers...

 microprocessors, as CTC did not believe it could meet its design goals by using a CPU built from discrete TTL
Transistor-transistor logic
Transistor–transistor logic is a class of digital circuits built from bipolar junction transistors and resistors. It is called transistor–transistor logic because both the logic gating function and the amplifying function are performed by transistors .TTL is notable for being a widespread...

 chip
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s. CTC approached Intel and Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Inc. , widely known as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, United States, which develops and commercializes semiconductor and computer technology...

, neither of whom could meet CTC's deadlines. Consequently, the 2200 was released using the conventional SSI/MSI chip technology of the time. Turning out to be of great historical significance, however, CTC's specifications led to the creation of the Intel 8008
Intel 8008
The Intel 8008 was an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It was an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16KB of memory...

 single chip microprocessor. Thus, today's overwhelmingly dominant instruction set architecture, used in Intel's x86 family of processors as well as all compatible CPUs from AMD
Advanced Micro Devices
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. or AMD is an American multinational semiconductor company based in Sunnyvale, California, that develops computer processors and related technologies for commercial and consumer markets...

 and others, traces its ancestry directly back to CTC. The 2200 had an optional disk drive using Shugart 8" floppies, single-sided, single-density which was the first commercial computer to include them.
The Datapoint 2201 became so popular that CTC later changed its name to Datapoint Corp. Other Datapoint inventions were ARCnet
ARCNET
ARCNET is a local area network protocol, similar in purpose to Ethernet or Token Ring. ARCNET was the first widely available networking system for microcomputers and became popular in the 1980s for office automation tasks...

, invented in 1977, which was an early token-passing
Token passing
In telecommunication, token passing is a channel access method where a signal called a token is passed between nodes that authorizes the node to communicate. The most well-known examples are token ring and ARCNET....

 local area network (LAN)
Local area network
A local area network is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building...

 protocol, and the PL/B high-level programming language
High-level programming language
A high-level programming language is a programming language with strong abstraction from the details of the computer. In comparison to low-level programming languages, it may use natural language elements, be easier to use, or be from the specification of the program, making the process of...

, which was originally called Databus (from Datapoint business language) and ran under the Datashare multi-user interpreter. Later developments included a Mapped Intelligent Disc System (MIDS) which networked 2200 series terminals to a single mass storage disc operating system and enhanced Distributed Data Processing. Proprietary operating systems included DOS and RMS, and Datapoint later moved its hardware to be based on Intel 386 CPUs.

ARCnet was briefly superseded by ARCnetplus, which provided throughput of 20 Mbit/s and include options such as LiteLink which used infra-red technology to link systems in adjacent buildings. This was launched around the time 100 Mbit/s Ethernet arrived so never really took much market share.

Datapoint also developed and patented one of the earliest picture-in-picture
Picture-in-picture
Picture in Picture is a feature of some television receivers and similar devices. One program is displayed on the full TV screen at the same time as one or more other programs are displayed in inset windows. Sound is usually from the main program only.Picture in Picture requires two independent...

 implementations of videoconferencing
Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing is the conduct of a videoconference by a set of telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously...

 called MINX (Multimedia Information Network eXchange). It was also part of the first video visitation and arraignment systems. It has been suggested they made more money from lawsuits over patent infringements than through sales of the product.

Heyday and decline



By the early 1980s, Datapoint was a Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 company. Lead times were extending rapidly as demand for Datapoint products increased, leading to delivery delays and unhappy customers. Pressure to increase sales led to some questionable orders being accepted. Compounding this was that many of the orders were simply placed to guarantee availability of the product at a future point when it was expected that actual orders would be in place. When these actual orders never materialized, the excess capacity and inventories initiated the financial collapse. Additionally, some of the actual customers went broke before paying their bills due to the general business slowdown. Due to these factors Datapoint had to reverse sales or record substantial bad debts, which caused the company to lose $800 million of its market capitalization
Market capitalization
Market capitalization is a measurement of the value of the ownership interest that shareholders hold in a business enterprise. It is equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a publicly traded company...

 in a matter of a few months in early 1982. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered Datapoint to stop this practice.

Soon after, the Waco, Tx factory was closed in early 1983 and all Waco production transferred to the newer Ft Worth factory. The Ft Worth Factory was subsequently closed in 1985 as the company continued in a virtual freefall leaving the San Antonio factory (aka "9725") as the sole remaining factory in the US. Production shrank further and several San Antonio facilities were consolidated with much factory space in 9725 being converted to offices to allow termination of office leases in the area. While numerous factory personnel moved from Waco to Ft Worth, very few were relocated from Ft Worth to San Antonio as the company was shrinking in size rapidly.

Demise and divestiture


Taken over by corporate raid
Corporate raid
A corporate raid is an American English business term for buying a large interest in a corporation and then using voting rights to enact measures directed at increasing the share value...

er Asher Edelman
Asher Edelman
Asher Edelman began his career on Wall Street in 1961. In 1969 he formed Mack, Bushnell and Edelman where he was CEO. Edelman’s Wall Street businesses included Investment Banking, Money Management, and Derivatives Trading...

 in 1985, Datapoint spun off its services division into another company, named Intelogic Trace, Inc. that same year. Initially Intelogic Trace specialized in servicing Datapoint equipment but later broadened into supporting products from other vendors as well. But Intelogic Trace, too, soon ran into trouble, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

, and on April 6, 1995, its assets were sold to a company in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

.

Datapoint itself weathered a subsequent battle for control of the company that triggered more attention from the SEC, and although it launched new products, it never regained its former level of innovation and prominence.

In December 1999, all of Datapoint's patented video communications technologies, along with all inventory and assets associated with the video business group was sold to one of its resellers and a company by the name of VUGATE was formed. A handful of the loyal video group employees went to work for this company which is still selling the product today.

On May 3, 2000, Datapoint filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and on June 19, 2000 sold the Datapoint name and various operations to its European subsidiary for $49.3 million. The now fully European Datapoint company changed its emphasis to call center
Call centre
A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing,...

 equipment and largely pulled out of the computer market. Headquartered in Brentford
Brentford
Brentford is a suburban town in west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It is located at the confluence of the River Thames and the River Brent, west-southwest of Charing Cross. Its former ceremonial county was Middlesex.-Toponymy:...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, it also has offices in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, England, and Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain.

Also on June 19, 2000, the remnant of Datapoint's US operations changed its name to Dynacore Holdings Corporation and formed a subsidiary that pursued 14 lawsuits based on two patents granted to Datapoint regarding local area network
Local area network
A local area network is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building...

s. With only $1.3 million left from the sale of its European operations after paying its debts and no products left to sell—its total revenues for the first half of 2001 dwindled to $9,000 and a year later fell to nothing—Dynacore searched for a company to buy. In February 2003, Dynacore engaged in a reverse takeover
Reverse takeover
A reverse takeover or reverse merger is the acquisition of a public company by a private company so that the private company can bypass the lengthy and complex process of going public...

 of The CattleSale Company. Asher Edelman
Asher Edelman
Asher Edelman began his career on Wall Street in 1961. In 1969 he formed Mack, Bushnell and Edelman where he was CEO. Edelman’s Wall Street businesses included Investment Banking, Money Management, and Derivatives Trading...

 now sits in CattleSale's board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

.

In April 2003, Datapoint U.S.A., Inc. assumed control of all RMS Operating System based products from Datapoint Group(UK). Datapoint U.S.A., Inc. is based in San Antonio, TX and continues to provide RMS development, maintenance and support services to users worldwide.

An office building and street in San Antonio still bear Datapoint's name.

Re-invention


The UK business and its European subsidiaries was purchased by Alchemy Partners and has since thrived. The company employs 270 people. It is profitable, achieved £60m turnover in 2007. In 2007 it acquired the assets of Touchbases' Avaya business to expand its footprint and extend into enterprise communications. Datapoint's most recent geographic footprint extends to clients in 41 countries including responsibility for supporting 5,000 sites in those territories with offices located in London, Dublin, Barcelona, Milan, Paris, Utrecht and Munich.

Continuing its long standing tradition of innovation, the current Datapoint brand has become a systems integrator for enterprise and call centre communications covering all related infrastructure and applications. This is underpinned with a services portfolio that includes education, consultancy, design and systems integration, service delivery, training and support.

Datapoint is an Avaya platinum partner, the longest standing partner of Aspect and an accredited partner amongst others of Genesys, NetServices, Nexidia, Nice, Presence and Verint.

Datapoint is a Systems Integrator for Enterprise and Call Centre communications covering all related infrastructure and applications. This is underpinned with a services portfolio that includes education, consultancy, design and systems integration, service delivery, training and support.

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