The Dell Deals Part One: The Wyse Decision

In the genealogy of computer technology, Wyse is something of a grandfather figure.  So, when its marginally younger cousin Dell acquired the elder back in April (for an undisclosed amount… how boring), it brought back 80s PC nostalgia.



If you’re unfamiliar with Wyse Technology because, perhaps, you weren’t buying up $2000 computers in 1981, here’s a little walk down (comp system) memory lane to bring you up to speed.


The 80s: Baby Wyse and its Prolific Parents

Grace and Bernard Tse met in the early 80s at the University of Illinois as engineering students, (blowtorch) sparks flew and in 1981 a computer terminal design idea was born (how romantic).


But Baby Wyse wasn’t like the other computer tots of his time. You see, his fruitful parents persevered through the saturated market at the time and funding struggles (early VCs laughed/house was re-mortgaged), but Baby Wyse would eventually grow up to become the largest computer terminal manufacturer in the world.


Baby’s first steps were witnessed in 1983 after the WY50 was introduced. When his parents decided to sell him for much much less than his infant counterparts (about 44% less), the press said they were basically giving away $50 with every shipment. Momma Grace had a good laugh about this in her 1987 interview with Forbes (which I’m sure had the early VCs kicking themselves).


The 90s: PC Pre-Teen to Acquired Adult

In 1987, Baby Wyse graduated from computer terminals, took on a new name (Amdek, if you were wondering), and entered PC Middle School. It was a profitable move, and by 1989 sales surpassed $400 million.


But, no longer was Wyse the cheapest computer kid on the block, and as the PC market became much more competitive, the $400 million sales weren’t enough to save poor Amdek from its profit setbacks.


These desperate times led to a $262 million adoption by Taiwan-based Mitac Group in an effort to save little Wyse and to boost Taiwan’s presence in the global computer industry.


With the new parental unit in place and PC failure lessons learned, young Wyse went back to the basics, focusing its efforts once again on terminal production. This lead to the development of two thin client prototypes in late 1994, to support the graphics and capability needs to display Windows and Internet applications.


The teenage years for Wyse flew by in a series of acquisitions and adoptions, best friends and breakthroughs. It’s the recent life transition, however, that’s put Wyse back in the press and back on the map (though, I don’t think it was ever off to begin with).


It’s a Dell Deal

Dell has been looking to maximize their virtualization experience recently (whatever that means), and has been shopping around for DVI-attractive companies. This led them to announce they would be acquiring Wyse Technologies, to integrate into their Kace division of managed imaging and application virtualization products.


So, Baby Wyse is all grown up and has found comfort in yet another tech home. Luckily, it’s a palace. Wyse should have no complaints. And, I’m sure his biological parents are very proud.


Photo Credits

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