Datastorm Technologies, Inc.
Datastorm was a computer software company that existed from 1986 until 1996. The company was founded by Bruce Barkelew and Thomas Smith. Datastorm and their software, ProComm, was prominent in a pre-TCP/IP world where computer-to-computer modem connections (e.g. bulletin board systems, or BBS's) were common. Datastorm was the first company to grow from a shareware model to a large retail company. ProComm 2.4.3 for DOS is still available as shareware today.
After the death of Andrew Fluegelman, creator of PC-Talk, a gap was left in the marketplace for dial-up and terminal emulation software. Bruce Barkelew and Tom Smith, computer science students at the University of Missouri, created ProComm under the name PIL Software Systems as shareware in 1985 and incorporated in 1986 as Datastorm Technologies Inc. ProComm was distributed through various Bulletin Board Systems.
Datastorm chose Columbia, Missouri as the initial company location, enabling them to tap into the pool of programmers graduating from the University of Missouri's Computer Science department, and the relatively low cost of living. Datastorm boot-strapped their growth organically via retained earnings and refusal of outside investments. By 1992, they were ranked 376 in the Inc. 500. The company produced a combination 16/32-bit Procomm Plus for Windows, which included an early Web browser called Web Zeppelin. Procomm Plus for Windows supported the RIP graphic terminal language, enabling the display of higher-resolution images than the ANSI standard in general use by bulletin board systems at the time.
In September 1993, Procomm Plus for Windows reached the #1 spot on PC Magazine's list of Top Retail Software.
Datastorm grew through 40 consecutive profitable quarters, then was acquired by Quarterdeck in 1996 at a cost of over $70 million. Quarterdeck was later purchased by Symantec. Support for the last release of Procomm, version 4.8, was discontinued in 2002.
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