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Ashton-Tate May Expand dBase Program : Deal With Digital Would Be 2nd Attempt for Firm

Times Staff Writer

Ashton-Tate, the Torrance software publisher, is expected to announce Monday that it will develop a version of its top-selling dBase database management program for Digital Equipment Corp.'s computers, industry sources said.

The deal marks Ashton-Tate’s second attempt to extend its popular dBase program beyond personal computers and underscores the company’s continuing efforts to expand its software operations.

“This is a plus for Ashton-Tate, and it could be very significant for the company,” said William Shattuck, an analyst with the San Francisco brokerage Montgomery Securities. “This moves the company into an area where they haven’t been before.”

A version of dBase, which organizes lists of information on personal computers, has already been developed for a mid-size IBM computer. But the latest deal marks the first time the program will be offered on Digital’s hot-selling mid-range VAX computers.

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Ashton-Tate was the ninth most actively traded stock Thursday in the over-the-counter market. On a trading volume of 1,085,600 shares, it closed at $26, up $1.

For Marlboro, Mass.-based Digital, the pact with Ashton-Tate would be one of several it has forged recently with other major players in the computer industry. Earlier this month the company announced that it had agreed to sell under its own label personal computers made by Tandy Corp. Previously, Digital reached an agreement with Apple Computer to develop ways to link Digital’s VAX machines with Apple’s Macintosh personal computers.


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