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Altos Computer Systems

Altos' founder and CEO Dave Jackson was quoted in 1988 as saying, "I could be a hypocrite and say that Altos is in the PICK market because the operating environment is technically the best, etc., but the truth is that PICK's distribution channels are equally, if not more important, to that." And on that premise, Altos built up one of the few multi-tiered level PICK channels with eight master VARS and 75 VARs worldwide, 45 of these in the United States.

On the who's who list of UNIX vendors, Altos was founded in 1978 and shortly thereafter introduced one of the world's first 8-bit machines. In 1989, Altos was a $175.8 million company, reported more than 108,000 installations worldwide, and supported over 1,000 VARs and 400 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). As a designer, manufacturer and marketer of 16 and 32-bit networked multiuser solutions, Altos focused 100% of its development on UNIX and PICK. Altos, headquartered in San Jose, California, was a member of PICK Spectrum and actively involved in the PICK Spectrum Technical Standards Committee.

Altos began porting PICK in 1983, and licensed R83 in 1984. PICK and UNIX are offered on separate platforms, with MS-DOS and Concurrent DOS environments also available. The two PICK families developed and marketed by Altos include the Series 3068 EP and Mp supporting 5 - 120 users, and the 68X Series 030 single and dual processor supporting 13 - 250 users.

Internationally, Altos reported that its PICK markets of Europe and Japan are increasing faster than other non-U.S.A. areas, and overall, 42% of Altos' worldwide revenue comes from North and South Europe. But as a PICK supplier, revenues are not increasing as fast as the UNIX side of the company. PICK-based sales accounted for approximately 3.8% of total Altos revenues in 1988, decreasing slightly from approximately 4.3% in 1987 and 5.9% in 1986.


  • The PICK Spectrum 1989 Impact Study