Summer 1992

CeBIT draws biggest-ever NeXT crowd

by Dan Lavin Hannover

Germany: NeXT Computer's booth at the recent CeBIT Computer Fair here drew huge crowds, as a slew of both U.S. and European developers took the stage to demonstrate new NeXT products.

CeBIT is the world's largest computer trade show, this year drawing over 600,000 attendees. NeXT estimates that at least 20,000 of them spent time in the NeXT booth, the largest group of people ever to view NeXT machines. The figure does not include the crowds in 12 other booths that showed NeXT products.

Alexandra von Grass, marketing communications manager for NeXT, described interest in NeXT at the show as "overwhelming." Helmut Blank, NeXT's country manager in Germany, said it served as "a validation of the interest in our vision."

That vision is embodied in two major marketing strategies announced by NeXT CEO Steve Jobs just two months ago at NeXTWORLD Expo: mission-critical custom application development and globalization of programs. Both strategies were evident in new products at the show.

In Europe, NeXT value-added dealers are creating custom applications both for specific customers and for sale to the public. Among these are Viva, a package of Sybase-backed customizable office-automation modules from dealer D'Art GmbH. D'Art is also producing an electronic version of the standard Duden German dictionary. German dealer Gecos is developing Scout, a system and database for managing images.
In desktop publishing, Networx GmbH showed Color-X-10, the first solution to manage the connection between a Canon Color Laser Copier and the NeXT. The product supports the non-Postscript IPU-10 RIP, allowing fast SCSI connection to the copier.
Unterecker Software announced Compose in Color, an image-manipulation tool with a scripting language. AMG debuted Avant Vector, an image-tracing tool that vectorizes TIFF images for manipulation in other programs. Gecos GmbH's StarTool and LaserBeam handle the interface between the NeXT machine and Agfa and Linotype imagesetters. And tms GmbH showed an early version of Cranach, the company's planned page-layout and image-retouching system.
In databases, IMS GmbH, a dealer from the former German Democratic Republic, introduced IDBM 1.5, a multimedia database. BKS billed its upcoming Poet as the first true object-oriented database for the NeXT platform.
Fully localized German versions of Lotus Improv, WordPerfect, Diagram, and Adamation's Who's Calling were on display and are now available.

"The difference between this year and last is that instead of saying 'It's coming,' we're saying 'Buy it today,' " said NeXT's Blank.

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