AT&T; and NCR Unveil Plan to Merge Units

From Associated Press

AT&T; and NCR Corp. on Thursday disclosed their plan for merging computer products and sales staffs as part of the phone company's $7.4-billion takeover of the computer maker last month.

American Telephone & Telegraph Co. promised during its bitter, five-month takeover battle that Dayton, Ohio-based NCR would retain its brand name and would decide which AT&T; computer products would survive after the merger.

The companies said NCR's products will make up the bulk of the combined line. AT&T; computers and software products gradually will be folded into NCR's line, though some AT&T; products and brands will be continued, the companies said.

The companies have not decided whether to use the AT&T; label on some of the combined product lines, said Philip M. Neches, an NCR senior vice president and its chief scientist.

The merger plan seeks to avoid the problems that still plague Unisys Corp., which resulted from the 1986 merger of Burroughs Corp. and Sperry Corp.

Under the consolidation plan, users of AT&T; computers will be provided ways to migrate to comparable NCR products over months or years.

Under the plan, AT&T;'s computer sales and marketing force will remain in current form during a transition period. When the merger is formally approved--expected by this fall--it will be combined with NCR's U.S. marketing group. AT&T; said it was not yet known whether any of these employees will lose their jobs.

"The combined company will follow current NCR marketing philosophies and business practices," the companies said in a joint news release.

Neches said the companies had not tackled the issue of what to do with other AT&T; Computer Systems employees, such as engineers and software writers.

AT&T; moved about 1,000 employees from its New Jersey-based computer division to other divisions since last year, but the company said that was due to a reduction plan that had nothing to do with the merger.

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