The BUNCH was the nickname for the group of mainframe computer competitors to IBM in the 1970s. The name is derived from the names of the five companies: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell. These companies were grouped together because the market share of IBM was much higher than all of its competitors put together.
During the 1960s, IBM and these five computer manufacturers, along with RCA and General Electric, had been known as "IBM and the Seven Dwarfs". The description of IBM's competitors changed after GE's 1970 sale of its computer business to Honeywell and RCA's 1971 sale of its computer business to Sperry, leaving only five "dwarves". Fortunately, their initials lent themselves to a new acronym, BUNCH. The BUNCH companies followed IBM into the microcomputer market in the 1980s with their own PC compatibles.
Where are they now?
- Burroughs & UNIVAC
- In September 1986, after Burroughs purchased Sperry (the parent company of UNIVAC), the name of the company was changed to Unisys.
- In 1982, NCR became involved in open systems architecture, starting with the UNIX-powered TOWER 16/32, and placed more emphasis on computers smaller than mainframes. NCR was acquired by AT&T Corporation in 1991. A restructuring of AT&T in 1996 led to its re-establishment on 1 January 1997 as a separate company. In 1998 NCR sold its computer hardware manufacturing assets to Solectron and ceased to produce general-purpose computer systems.
- Control Data Corporation
- Control Data Corporation is now Syntegra (USA), a subsidiary of British company BT Group's BT Global Services.
- In 1991 Honeywell's computer division was sold to the French computer company Groupe Bull.
Other mainframe manufacturers during the 1960s and 1970s
- Scientific Data Systems (later known as Xerox Data Systems after its purchase by Xerox in 1969) also sold mainframe computers, but with around 1% marketshare, it was not a major factor in the marketplace. Xerox closed the division in 1975, with most rights sold to Honeywell.
- In 1976, Cray Research (a company supported by Seymour Cray's former employer Control Data Corporation), released the Cray-1 vector computer.
- Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was founded in 1957 to manufacture computer components, and made many small computers, notably the PDP series. These computers were classified as minicomputers rather than mainframes, but often competed for the same business. DEC later sold to Compaq, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
- Hewlett-Packard (HP) was founded in 1939 manufacturing advanced electronic equipment. In the mid-1960s HP started producing minicomputers, which competed with mainframe computers.
- Amdahl Corporation, founded in 1970 by former IBM employee Gene Amdahl, are an information technology company specialising in IBM mainframe-compatible computer products, and are a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu since 1997.
- International Computers Limited was a large British computer hardware, computer software and computer services company that operated from 1968 until 2002. The company was progressively acquired by Fujitsu, and in April 2002 it was rebranded as Fujitsu.
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