Singer System Ten - ICL’s Surprise Success Story

Speaker: John Panter + Alan Wakefield & Mike Knight
Date: Monday 24th October 2022
Time: 14:30

25 Copthall Ave, London EC2R 7BP and
Via the Internet using ZOOM.


About the seminar

In early 1976, the Singer Corporation announced its decision to dispose of its loss-making subsidiary, Singer Business Machines Inc (SBM). Much to the surprise of the global computer industry at the time, ICL swiftly concluded a deal which was signed on 18th March 1976.

The Singer System Ten was the main product within the acquired portfolio, marketed as a Retail POS terminals controller; a Factory Data Collection terminals controller; and as an interactive Small Business System supported by various line-of-business application packages.

This presentation covers the SBM acquisition, and the subsequent business achievements and benefits from an ICL perspective. It also covers the unique but simple and effective product architecture, and the subsequent ICL initiated enhancements.

About the speaker

The presenter, John Panter FBCS, was recruited into LEO Computers by John Pinkerton in 1961 and worked for ICL and its formative companies in a number of technical and managerial positions until his retirement in 1998. He was an ICL Fellow. Responsible for the transfer into ICL of System Ten hardware and the ongoing product enhancements, including initiating the replacement System 25.

He has been aided with material from Alan Wakefield and Mike Knight, with whom he worked closely on the System Ten project.

Alan Wakefield joined Elliott Automation Computers in 1961 selling Elliott 803, 903, and 4100 series computers. He joined ICT Corporate Planning Organisation in 1967 and continued with ICL in a variety of Product Planning, Product Marketing, Sales and International Marketing management roles until retirement in 2000. He was part of the SBM acquisition team, responsible for Marketing the System Ten.

Mike Knight: Cambridge history graduate turned trainee programmer with Emidec Computers in 1961. Worked for ICL 1971-85 and retired from Dow Jones Telerate in 1995. Deeply involved in the acquisition of SBM, was System Ten/25 product line marketing manager from 1979-84. Author of System Ten and System 25 articles in Resurrection 47 and Resurrection 49.

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