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SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY : Irvine’s AST Research Will Make $30 Million in Computers for Tandem

Compiled by David Olmos, Times staff writer

AST Research, an Irvine maker of personal computers, said it has received a contract valued at about $30 million from a Silicon Valley company.

The agreement with Tandem Computers, a Cupertino computer manufacturer, will mark the first major contract in which AST’s computers will be marketed under another company’s name.

Until now, AST’s computers have been sold almost exclusively through computer retail stores, resellers and national distributors.

Under the agreement, Tandem will incorporate AST’s products into large computer systems and networks that it markets to its own customers under the Tandem name. The Cupertino firm manufactures computers that are used for bank automated teller machines, airline reservations systems, newspapers and factories.

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AST said the contract is for 18 months, but the company hopes that Tandem will expand its purchases of AST equipment.

“If the program goes well and Tandem is as successful as they think they’re going to be, the contract will get bigger,” said Bob Becker, AST’s vice president of sales for original-equipment manufacturing agreements. The agreement comes at an opportune time for AST, which last week said it expects to report a loss of $7 million to $9 million for its quarter that ended Dec. 31.


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