ICL was formed in 1968 by merging the UK's leading indigenous computer suppliers, English Electric Computers and International Computers and Tabulators (ICT). In 1984, ICL was acquired by STC (Standard Telephones and Cables) to form one of Europe's leading communications and information systems groups. At the end of November 1990, Fujitsu Limited acquired an 80 per cent shareholding in the company; Nortel Networks (formerly known as Northern Telecom) held the 20 per cent balance. By virtue of two rights issues in 1993-94 and 1996, Fujitsu increased its stake to 90.1 per cent.
ICL closed its last manufacturing site in 1996 with the sale of D2D computer manufacturing business to Celestica of Canada and de-merger of the personal computer and server business to Fujitsu. In September 1998 Fujitsu acquired the 9.9 per cent balance from Nortel Networks. Fujitsu therefore owned 100 per cent of ICL. In April 2002 ICL was fully integrated into the Fujitsu Group of companies and became known as Fujitsu Services within the UK and Europe.

ICL was a formidable player in the mainframe and midrange market for many years and enjoyed tremendous success with its Series 19/29/39 mainframe running the proprietary VME operating system. ICL also entered the UNIX market in the 1990’s with a range of UNIX based platforms.

Some of ICL’s legacy platforms include:

  • Series 19, Series 29 and Series 39 Mainframe
  • ME 29
  • System 25
  • DRS20
  • DRS300
  • CLAN
  • DRS6000

Integrating ICL based Applications

ICL was very successful in the UK and Europe with a high concentration of its sales in the public sector. ICL mainframes are still running many mission-critical applications today for key government departments including the Inland Revenue. The ICL legacy platforms, as with many mainframe and midrange systems of the day were never designed to integrate with other computer systems. In fact, the only interface to the system was that of the end-user, through the terminal/workstation devices.

Applications residing ICL legacy systems would have been written to support specific terminal types, and the transport of information to and from the terminal and the ICL system would utilize what is referred to today as a terminal data stream. This terminal data stream is the only ubiquitous, non-invasive application interface provided by a legacy application. MitemView utilizes this data stream as an application interface. The common data streams for ICL are known as ICL 7561 and VT, the latter being specific to ICL’s UNIX platforms, such as the DRS300, CLAN and DRS6000.

This means that applications which run on ICL platforms can now be integrated, non-invasively and in real-time, with new applications, whether they are composite applications, packaged or web-based.

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