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Tadpole Computer Evolves

Claiming its independence from its parent company, Tadpole Computer Monday outlined its future for making 64-bit UNIX systems.

Once the hardware division of U.K.-based Tadpole Technology, the Cupertino, Calif.-based concern said is has successfully completed a management buyout from its former parent and is ready to swim with other computer makers focused on products ranging from back-end servers to mobile notebooks.

Tadpole was one of the first Silicon Valley companies to offer 64-bit notebooks and it has a large base of 64-bit portable systems. All of the company's products are also Sun Microsystems SPARC binary compatible, such as its SPARCbook, UltraBookIIi and portable VoyagerIIi server. The least expensive SPARCbook, the SPARCbook 5000, costs about $6,000.

The company is expected to compete with IBM , Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard , which all sell Intel-based machines.

President and CEO and former Tadpole Technology executive Mark Johnston will head the new company. Johnston is joined by Chief Scientist Bruce Borden, a co-founder of 3Com and one of the inventors of TCP/IP . Other executives of the new Tadpole come from Sun, Apple, and McKinsey.

"Thanks to the management buyout and a focused team of leaders who are determined to meet the needs of our customers, Tadpole is better positioned today than ever before to bring new and innovative 64-bit UNIX solutions to market," said Johnston. "Faced with increasing security threats and an economy-driven need to increase productivity and efficiencies in the workplace, customers today want the power, security and reliability of 64-bit enterprise solutions at their fingertips, no matter where they're working. We've seized on this need and we're putting all of our people, technologies, partners and support behind it."

Together, Tadpole said it plans to expand its world-class UNIX notebook line into low-end and high-end families. Company execs say the low-end line will be introduced within the next two months. It will target commercial-class customers. The new high-end line will include server capabilities in a portable, multiprocessor, 1GHz+ machine, specifically targeted at core government and military customers.

Tadpole said it would continue to manufacture and support its current line of UNIX notebooks, portable servers and slim form factor rackmount servers.

Johnston said he was so confident about the company's prospects, that the Opus, Axil Computer, and Cycle Computer veteran said Tadpole should reach profitability in the first quarter of its newfound independence.

"For years, we have been delivering the reliability, security, portability, SPARC/Solaris application compatibility and high performance computing that 64-bit UNIX offers to military and government users, where it is required," said Johnston. "Now, we are going leverage our years of experience to bring these same features to the commercial space, while augmenting our offerings to our core existing customer base."