ROLM Corporation was a technology company founded in Silicon Valley in 1969. In 1978, ROLM split into Rolm Mil-Spec Computers and Rolm Telecom. During 1983-1984, IBM partnered with the company, and Rolm Mil-Spec was sold to Loral Corporation and later to Lockheed Martin in 1996 as Tactical Defense Systems. IBM's ROLM division was later half sold to Siemens AG in 1989, whereupon the manufacturing and development became wholly owned by Siemens and called ROLM Systems, while marketing and service became a joint venture of IBM with Siemens, called ROLM Company. After nearly 30 years, phone products with the name "Rolm" were discontinued in the late 1990s, as sales dropped in markets dominated by new technology with other products or other companies.
The ROLM corporation had two distinct operations, depending on the application of the associated hardware, with a cross blending of technologies from one division to the other.
The company first produced rugged mil-spec (military specification) computer systems running Data General software. The company divisionalized in 1978, becoming both Rolm Mil-Spec Computers and Rolm Telecom. The Telecom division spent much of the considerable profit realized by the Mil-Spec Computer division over the ensuing 1980s trying to penetrate the convoluted phone-interconnect business.
The first computer system was the 1601 Ruggednova Processor was announced at the 1969 Fall Joint Computer Conference with deliveries beginning in March 1970. In the military it was designated the AN/UYK-12(V) It was a licensed implementation of the Data General Nova architecture. It consisted of a 5-board processor card set and core or read only MOS memory in 4K increments up to 32K in a standard ATR box which contained the power supply and 14 card slots. The 1601 was a popular machine with RCA TIPI. The processor was developed into a smaller-form card set as the ALR-62 and ultimately into a single-card version as the ALR-46A, both sold to Dalmo Victor.
The Models 1602 and 1603 soon followed with greater capability and more memory - the ROLM 1602 was used on the AN/MLQ-34 TACJAM jamming system as the primary system computer and controller. The newer 1606 was leveraged into the Raytheon (Goleta) AN/SLQ-32 naval shipboard electronic warfare system for signal identification purposes and into units sold to Singer Librascope. Bob Maxfield and Alan Foster were responsible for the design of the early processor chassis until Art Wellman from Sylvania was brought in to take the computers to their next level mechanically. Both half-ATR and full-ATR-sized chassis were developed for a wide array of defense applications.
The 1602B and 2150 I/O boxes were developed and standardized expressly for the Army ILS program and were top sellers at the time. The Rolm 1602 was used on AN/MLQ-34 'TACJAM' as the primary mission computer (please see https://books.google.com/books?id=d3c-AAAAYAAJ&pg=SA2-PA140&lpg=SA2-PA140&dq=tacjam+system&source=bl&ots=XBwQfngum6&sig=SG92qxiaZmqZCw1V6-EGOh5khYg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVu_D4i_fbAhXL6oMKHXvECWEQ6AEIZTAO#v=onepage&q=tacjam%20system&f=false Page B-2). The 1666 was leveraged into the GLCM (Ground Launched Cruise Missile) and SLCM (Surface Launched Cruise Missile) hardware for McDonnell Douglas (MDAC), St. Louis, and the follow-on 1666B was incorporated into MDAC's Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TWCS). Despite developing most products with Rolm's own money, the substantial increase in military sales in the 1980s caused the loss of the commercial exemption enjoyed in the early years. This required all product-pricing to be negotiated directly with the DoD, so margins eroded somewhat. Some 32-bit machines (versus 16-bit) were developed into the Hawk/32 computer and sold well. Engineering in the latter years scrambled to come up with a new product line as the military was enticed into ruggedized commercial computer systems by Rugged Digital, and Rolm worked on a militarized version of Mercury Computer's Digital Signal Processor. Brisk sales of the DG-based computers continued up to the time the ROLM Mil-Spec Computer division was closed in June 1998.
The Telecom division leveraged the 1603 processor into the heart of its original CBX. Over time, the company began to focus on digital voice, and produced some of the earliest examples of all-digital voice equipment, including Computerized Branch Exchanges (CBXs) and digital phones. Two of the most popular telecom systems were the ROLM CBX and ROLM Redwood (PBX and Key Systems Unit (KSU) models, respectively). The CBX was meant to directly compete with Northern Telecom's SL-1, AT&T Dimension telephone systems and other computerized digital-voice systems being developed at the time. By 1980, ROLM had shot past AT&T in number of systems deployed to become the #2 PBX in North America. The Redwood, often called the "Deadwood" by many ROLM techs because it never caught on, was intended to compete with the Nortel Norstar Key System. When Siemens bought ROLM from IBM and introduced their "newer" models, which were renamed Siemens switches, the early ROLM phone switches were widely pressed into service as old technology (though a number of 8000 and 9751-9005 CBXs remain online at some companies), but the digital phone handsets were quite valuable for those expanding their phone networks. The later ROLM 9200 (actually a Siemens HCM200 Hybrid system renamed) was more competition for the leading Key Systems as the 9200 had intensive Least Call Routing software, which the Redwood did not. The company also produced one of the first commercially successful voicemail systems, PhoneMail. Digital ROLM telephones, called ROLMphones, were unique from other telephones in many ways, one of which was a lack of a physical switchhook button. Instead, the handset contains a small magnet which triggers a switch in the phone base. The opening or closing of this switch lets the phone and system know if the phone is on hook (not in use) or off-hook (in use).
The company name "ROLM" was formed from the first letters of the founders names: Gene Richeson, Ken Oshman, Walter Loewenstern, and Robert Maxfield. The four men had studied electrical engineering at Rice University and earned graduate degrees at Stanford University. At Rice, Oshman and Loewenstern were members of Wiess College. Not an original founder, Leo Chamberlain was hired and became very much the soul of ROLM, advancing progressive workplace ideas such as GPW (Great Place to Work). The Old Ironsides Drive campus (ROLM Campus-Santa Clara, CA) was equipped with a swimming pool, openspace park areas, a cafeteria and recreation center.
ROLM originally made flight computers for the military and heavy commercial industries such as oil exploration (Halliburton). Beginning in the early 1970s, International Paper Company bought a significant number of the 1602 series computers. These became the environmentally-hardened base for that company's in-house-developed process control system, which informally became known as the dual-ROLM. Later, in an attempt at diversification, ROLM themselves branched off into energy management by buying a company producing an early version of such a system and the telecom industry by designing the CBX, internally running a 1603 computer. It quickly outsold AT&T, who at the time had not come out with a digital PBX, and became #2 behind the Nortel SL-1 switch by 1980. At one point, ROLM was poised to overtake Nortel as the leader in PBX sales in North America.
In May 1982 IBM purchased 15% of Rolm. IBM partnered with and in 1984 acquired ROLM Corporation in Santa Clara, California. The Mil-Spec Computer portion of the business was sold to Loral Corporation when IBM's Federal Systems Division was determined by government regulatory agencies to be already too large and dominant in military markets to retain ROLM Mil-Spec. Ultimately the Mil-Spec group ended up in the hands of Lockheed Martin as Tactical Defense Systems.
In the phone markets, ROLM started to lose pace with Nortel, due to product issues, and they never recovered. The 9751 CBX, which has IBM's name on it, was initially a successful product; but when ISDN service became more affordable, IBM never really updated the 9751 to integrate correctly with ISDN. Nortel leaped ahead on that issue alone; AT&T (now Avaya) and others gained ground and started to overtake ROLM. IBM's ROLM division was later half sold to Siemens AG in 1989, whereupon manufacturing and development became wholly owned by Siemens and called ROLM Systems, while marketing and service became a joint venture of IBM with Siemens, called ROLM Company. By 1992, Siemens bought out IBM's share in ROLM and later changed its name to SiemensROLM Communications. However, the die was cast, and the downturn (brought on by the 9006i series) continued. The ROLM name was eventually dropped in the late 1990s, though Siemens still retained copyright of it.
Currently, secondary vendors offer support for ROLM phone systems, including repair services for broken phones and sales of refurbished units and Phonemail systems. Many systems have remained in use in large-scale universities, institutions and some corporations (Entergy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Huntsman, The Southern Company, the Santa Fe railroad (now part of BNSF), etc.), which were large-scale ROLM users from the early days. These older systems are still known for being very reliable, though Siemens no longer offers updates or new models of the CBX. Siemens still offers some technical support, however, most real ROLM systems quietly keep running, and unless they suffered a lightning strike or an IBM hard-drive failure (in the 9751s), no support was really needed.
The Great America Campus was leveled and is now a parking lot for the adjacent Levi's Stadium. The River Oaks campus was leveled and is now high density housing. The Zanker campus remains as Broadcom.
The original CBX were not named except for the software release (i.e., "Release 5" or "Release 6"), but then they changed with the release of the 7000 CBX, later becoming the 8000 (8000-8004 series, which had more memory and newer CPU cards as well as offering redundant critical electronics, power supplies, etc.). The models under the CBX and later CBXII product line were the VS (Very Small; one CPU and no redundant electronics and one half of a normal cabinet of the larger models), S (Small: similar to the VS but normal size cabinet and could be upgraded; offered power supply redundancy), M (redundant CPUs and electronics and power supply options) and L (multi-cabinet with total redundancy). The CBXII 8004 Mdump 18a was the last release of the original series.
In the early 80s, ROLM introduced the CBXII VL9000 ('VL' for Very Large). Multi-node capable, it could have up to 15 nodes with over 20,000 stations. The nodes could be connected via T1s or fiber. The box and a lot of hardware was similar or the same as the 8000 series, but the main bus and software were totally different. The 9000 could offer many newer features the 8000 could not. The 1st 9000VL was going to Georgia Power/Southern Company but was delayed in its delivery, while SN002 was delivered to Gulf States Utilities HQ in Beaumont, Texas and installed by GSU's own telecom group ahead of SN001 being delivered to Georgia. GSU, now part of Entergy, retired the VL9000 in the late 1990s, and it was replaced with a SiemensROLM 9006i (actually sold by Siemens overseas 1st as the HiCoM (HCM) 300 and was nothing like a real ROLM). Georgia Power ran their VLCBX in tandem with an existing multi-cabinet 8000 and each extension had a switch to select either of the two CBXs in case of a malfunction until the reliability of the VL model was up to acceptable standards. NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Clear Lake, TX was the push behind the 9000 series, with JSC eventually having a 13 node 9000VLCBX on its campus (replaced by a Siemens 9006i and later a Siemens HiPath switch).
The various models of IBM produced ROLM 9751 CBX are 10, 20, 40, 50 & 70. PhoneMail (succeeded by eXpressions470 in later VoIP offerings from Siemens but using the same command structure and female "Silicon Sally" voice). However, IBM did not keep up with telecom standards on the Central Office as well as it should have; which kept IBM/ROLM from delivering an ISDN PRI solution for the 9751 until late in the game. By then, Nortel, the old AT&T (later Lucent and now Avaya) as well as others had pulled ahead and ROLM never regained ground.
The Model 10 cannot use Cornet hardware (RPDN card); CORNet is a proprietary networking software (an extension of ISDN PRI protocols) for Siemens PBXs and the original 9751-9005 model. Also the cabinet is a different design from the other models (the Model 20 through 70 use the same cabinet design, etc.).
In the early 1990s, Siemens came out with new "9751-9006i" models called the Model 30 and Model 80, respectively. They were nothing like the original ROLM systems. The only devices that were kept from the older models were the RolmPhones and PhoneMail. The Mod 30/80 9006i series was a disaster for Siemens, and this caused a lot of old ROLM customers to jump ship to another vendor like Nortel or Avaya. The 9006i models were really HiCoM (HCM) 300 models sold overseas. Eventually, Siemens changed the name back to the HCM name, ending production in the late 1990s with Version 6.6 (original release was 6.1 or 9006 release 1).
The AN/SLQ-32 is a shipboard electronic warfare suite built by the Raytheon Company of Goleta, California and The Hughes Aircraft Company. It is currently the primary electronic warfare system in use by U.S. Navy ships (as of 2017).Data General Nova
The Data General Nova is a series of 16-bit minicomputers released by the American company Data General. The first model of Nova, called simply the "Nova", was released in 1969. The Nova was packaged into a single rack mount case and had enough power to do most simple computing tasks. The Nova became popular in science laboratories around the world. It was succeeded by the Data General Eclipse, which was similar in most ways but added virtual memory support and other features required by modern operating systems.Dominick's
Dominick's was a Chicago-area grocery store chain and subsidiary of Safeway Inc.. Dominick's distribution center was located in Northlake, Illinois, while its management offices were located in Oak Brook, Illinois.Farzad Nazem
Farzad Nazem (Persian: فرزاد ناظم) (born 1961), also known as Zod Nazem, was Yahoo!'s chief technology officer and one of its longest-serving executives. On May 30, 2007, at age 46, he announced that he would retire and leave Yahoo! in June of that year. Since retirement, Nazem has spent most of his time on investments, philanthropy, and professional mentoring of young entrepreneurs in the technology field.George Nolen
George C. Nolen is an American business executive who served as CEO of Siemens Corporation from 2004 to 2009.In 2010 Nolen became senior managing director at Madison Industries and is president, CEO and chairman of Filtration Group, Madison Industries' largest portfolio company. International Filtration News describes Filtration Group as "the fastest-growing global filtration pure-play".Hicom 300
Hicom 300 is a telephone exchange system from Siemens, originally sold in the US as the ROLM 9751-9006i, and is used by big companies such as UBS, Swisscom, Nestlé and Tamco. The Hicom system has been surpassed by the HiPath 4000 system (since 2013 Unify OpenScape 4000) (which is in turn being surpassed by Siemens's VoIP offerings). The Hicom/HiPath series are a modular set of phone systems which come in several shapes and sizes, from the smallest wall-mountable units which support a few dozen clients to the largest modular block units which take multiple cards for digital (ISDN), POTS (analog), and VoIP cards. These phones are typically administered via a LAN card with Siemens's phone management software ('Manager E' also known as the 'ASS_150e.exe'), and are extremely powerful. Customer passwords are heavily encrypted in the KDS files but may be hacked using simple programs developed by third-party personnel. The HiPath 3000 system can be integrated with a range of Siemens applications which were actually written by other companies and then rebranded.
HICOM 300 uses Siemens developed software (rebranding involved) COMTES or COMWIN to give full access to configure the system.
The interface between COMWIN and HICOM can be LAN, serial, or modem.
The LAN access uses IP protocol with a built in setting (IP:192.0.2.3 mask:255.255.255.0 and Gateway:192.0.2.4) which must be supported either by the standalone terminal, attached network or by Brad Murphy's layer 8 personnel.IBM 1750, 2750 and 3750 Switching Systems
In 1969 IBM started marketing in five European countries the IBM 2750 Switching System – worldwide, the first stored-program-controlled PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange). Previously only electromechanical Strowger and Crossbar PABXs were available.The family of IBM 1750, 2750 and 3750 Switching Systems was developed from the IBM 1800 by the IBM La Gaude Research Laboratory near Nice, France for European markets only. Each system included twin stored-program controllers (each with 32K or 64K main storage}, some 600,000 lines of code, and nightly and emergency automatic switchover), twin disks (none for the 2750), and solid-state switching. Extension, trunk and tie lines were connected by discrete transistors on plug-in panels. All systems were assembled in IBM's Montpellier factory.IBM 8750 Business Communication System
The IBM 8750 Business Communications System was a voice and data switching system PABX, suitable for medium to large numbers of extensions, used on customer premises." The 8750 was the European version of the IBM 9751, also a ROLM design.
In 1984, IBM bought the American company ROLM. In 1987 IBM started to market the ROLM-derived IBM 8750 in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, and the UK. Principally for homologation, a few had been installed in IBM locations, such as IBM Havant in England – however none were installed in customer locations.
The 8750 had from 91 to 3000 telephone extensions; up to 1000 simultaneous conversations; a computer based on a Motorola 68020; up to 16 IBM 8755 Operator Consoles; a 30MB fixed disk; main/satellite working with IBM 3750 and 1750 Switching Systems; digital trunks in Belgium, Italy and the UK; and ISDN and IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) networks.IBM later sold ROLM to Siemens who then continued to market the 8750.Jeff Rulifson
Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson (born August 20, 1941) is an American computer scientist.Jerry Martin (composer)
Jerry Martin is an American composer, best known for his work composing music (particularly jazz) for television commercials, and being the lead composer for several games in The Sims franchise, including SimCity 3000, The Sims, The Sims Bustin' Out, The Sims 2 and SimCity 4.Ken Oshman
Malin Kenneth Oshman (July 9, 1940 – August 6, 2011) was an American business person and Silicon Valley pioneer. Oshman and three former classmates from Rice University founded ROLM, initially a maker of rugged military computers, in 1969. In 1988, he became chief executive officer of Echelon Corporation.List of mergers and acquisitions by IBM
The following is a partial list of IBM precursors, amalgamations, acquisitions and spinoffs. IBM has undergone a large number of such during a corporate history lasting over a century; the company has also produced a number of spinoffs during that time.
The acquisition date listed is the date of the agreement between IBM and the subject of the acquisition. The value of each acquisition is listed in USD because IBM is based in the United States. If the value of an acquisition is not listed, then it is undisclosed.
Many of the companies listed in this article had subsidiaries of their own who had subsidiaries who ... For examples, see Pugh's book Building IBM, page 26.List of telephone switches
This list of telephone switches is a compilation of telephone switches used in the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or in large enterprises.Loral Corporation
Loral Corporation was a defense contractor founded in 1948 in New York by William Lorenz and Leon Alpert as Loral Electronics Corporation. The company's name was taken from the first letters of each founder's surname.Rob Enderle
Rob Enderle (born July 27, 1954 in Corona, California) is an American technology analyst.Enderle has worked at several technology companies, including EMS Development Company, ROLM Systems and IBM, before becoming a technology analyst. He began his analyst career at Dataquest, before helping to launch GiGa Information Group. After GiGa was acquired by Forrester Research, he worked at Forrester until leaving to found his own firm, the Enderle Group.
Enderle writes a number of columns for technological publications and regularly appears on radio and television. He sits on several advisory councils, including those for Lenovo, AMD and HP. He shares a technology blog at Technology Pundits. He has worked as an advisor for Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Siemens, and Intel, among other companies.Siemens
Siemens AG (Aktiengesellschaft) (German pronunciation: [ˈziːməns] or [-mɛns]) is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe with branch offices abroad.
The principal divisions of the company are Industry, Energy, Healthcare (Siemens Healthineers), and Infrastructure & Cities, which represent the main activities of the company. The company is a prominent maker of medical diagnostics equipment and its medical health-care division, which generates about 12 percent of the company's total sales, is its second-most profitable unit, after the industrial automation division. The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. Siemens and its subsidiaries employ approximately 379,000 people worldwide and reported global revenue of around €83 billion in 2018 according to its earnings release.Ultra Network Technologies
Ultra Network Technologies (previously called Ultra Corporation) is a now defunct networking company. It offered high-speed network products for the scientific computing market as well as some commercial companies. It was founded in 1986 by James N. Perdue (formerly of NASA, Ames Research Center), Drew Berding, and Wes Meador (of Control Data Corporation) to provide higher speed connectivity and networking for supercomputers and their peripherals and workstations. At the time, the only other companies offering high speed networking and connectivity for the supercomputer and high-end workstation market was Network Systems Corporation (NSC) and Computer Network Technology Corporation (CNT). They both offered 50 megabytes per second (MB/s) bandwidth between controllers but at that time, their architecture was not implemented using standard networking protocols and their applications were generally focused on supporting connectivity at high speed between large mainframes and peripherals, often only implementing only point-to-point connections. Ethernet was available in 1986 and was used by most computer centers for general networking purposes. Its bandwidth was not high enough to manage the high data rate required by the 100 MB/s supercomputer channels and 4 MB/s VMEbus channels on workstations.Ultra's first customer, Apple Computer, purchased a system to connect their Cray 1 supercomputer to a high speed graphics framebuffer so that Apple could simulate new personal computers on the Cray Research computer (at the hardware level) and use the framebuffer as the simulated computer display device. Although not a networking application, this first contract allowed Ultra to demonstrate the basic technologies and gave them capital to continue development on a true networking processor.
In 1988, Ultra introduced ISO TP4 (level 4 networking protocol) as part of their controllers and implemented a type of star configuration network using coax and fiber optic connections. They called this product, UltraNet. They later offered a fast version of TCP/IP in their controllers, as this protocol was most frequently encountered in an actual computer center network environment. The clock rates on the Ultra network processors provided 250 Mbit/s transfer rates and four of these could be connected together to achieve one gigabit per second transfer rates for a single logical connection. Effective transfer rates between Silicon Graphics and Sun Microsystems workstations exceeded 4 MB/s using one 250 Mbit/s physical connection, a factor of over 10 to 12 greater than then current Ethernet connections and often exceeded the effective transfer rates of the competing NSC and CNT connections in similar applications. Customers with dual Cray computers measured the connections between Cray processors over the UltraNet that exceeded 80 MB/s effective transfer rates. Ultra Network Technologies products included network cards for workstations and mini-supercomputers using VMEbus connectors and fiber optic cable for the network physical connections, host network cards which resided in the network hub for Cray Supercomputers, IBM mainframes, mini-supercomputers from Convex Computer, HIPPI standard channel, and others. There were two sizes of high speed network hubs that contained the mainframe host cards plus the fiber optic network hub to network hub cards. The network topology was in the form of connected hubs. Engineers at the Stuttgart University computer center demonstrated long distance connections using German PTT provided fiber optics of effective transfer rates over 4 MB/s up to an 800 km distance. Later products incorporated TCP/IP network protocols in their processors.
A typical network configuration of several workstations and a single mainframe host could cost $250,000. A configuration with many workstations and two or three mainframe computers could reach $1 Million.
The company grew to about 140 employees at its high point. Its headquarters was located at 101 Daggett Drive, San Jose, CA with other offices in Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC, Düsseldorf, Germany, and Paris, France. In 1992, the company was abandoned by its investors and sold due to an inability to become profitable and the advent of less expensive network technologies, mainly created by the advent of the higher speed personal computers and lower cost workstations used in the scientific labs; the buyer was Computer Network Technology Corporation of Plymouth, Minnesota (NASDAQ: CMNT). The company's Chairman of the Board was M. Kenneth Oshman, formally chairman of ROLM Corporation, and President was Stan Tenold, previously the president of ROLM's Military Products division. The company's various customers included many high-end computer centers, including, several NASA sites, NSA, US Air Force, US Navy, Aramco, France's EDF, Pittsburg Supercomputer Center, University of Stuttgart and Hanover, Apple Computer, Houston Chronicle, and many other such high end computer users.Unify (company)
Unify, is an Atos SE company.Unify is headquartered in Munich, Germany and is present in over 100 countries. The company provides software-based enterprise unified communications including voice, Web collaboration, video conferencing and contact center, networking product and services.
Until January 21, 2016 Unify was a joint venture between The Gores Group and Siemens AG. Originally announced July 29, 2008, the joint venture started operating October 1, 2013, with The Gores Group holding a 51% stake, and 49% held by Siemens AG.Voicemail
A voicemail system (also known as voice message or voice bank) is a computer-based system that allows users and subscribers to exchange personal voice messages; to select and deliver voice information; and to process transactions relating to individuals, organizations, products and services, using an ordinary telephone. The term is also used more broadly to denote any system of conveying a stored telecommunications voice messages, including using an answering machine. Most cell phone services offer voice-mail as a basic feature; many corporate PBXs include versatile internal voice-messaging services, and *98 vertical service code subscription is available to most individual and small business land line subscribers.
|Joint ventures and|