Definitions

NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation is a technology company specializing in products for the retail and financial sectors. Its main products are point-of-sale terminals, automatic teller machines, check processing systems, barcode scanners, and business consumables. They also are one of the largest providers of IT maintenance support services. From 1988 to 1997 they sponsored the NCR Book Award for non-fiction.

The company was founded in 1884 and acquired by AT&T in 1991. A restructuring of AT&T in 1996 led to NCR's re-establishment on 1 January, 1997 as a separate company, and also involved the spin-off from AT&T of Lucent Technologies; NCR is the only AT&T spin-off that has retained its original name – all others have either been purchased or renamed following subsequent mergers.

For the twelve months ending 31 December 2006, NCR Corporation reported revenues of US$6.142billion, with a net income of $382million.

History

Early years

The company began as the National Manufacturing Company of Dayton, Ohio, which was established to manufacture and sell the first mechanical cash register, invented in 1879 by James Ritty. In 1884 the company and patents were bought by John Henry Patterson and his brother Frank Jefferson Patterson and the firm was renamed the National Cash Register Company. Patterson formed NCR into one of the first modern American companies, introducing new, aggressive sales methods and business techniques. He established the first sales training school in 1893, and introduced a comprehensive social welfare program for his factory workers.

Other significant figures in the early history of the company were Charles F. Kettering, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and Edward A. Deeds. Deeds and Kettering went on to found Delco Electronics which became a division of General Motors. Watson eventually worked his way up to general sales manager. Bent on inspiring the dispirited NCR sales force, Watson introduced the motto "THINK!" Signs with this motto were erected in factory buildings, sales offices, and club rooms during the mid-1890s. "THINK" later became a widely-known symbol of IBM. Kettering designed the first cash register powered by an electric motor in 1906. Within a few years he developed the Class 1000 register which was in production for 40 years, and the O.K. Telephone Credit Authorization system for verifying credit in department stores.

Expansion

NCR expanded quickly and became multi-national in 1888. Between 1893 and 1906 it acquired a number of smaller cash register companies.

By 1911 it had sold one million machines and grown to almost 6,000 employees. Combined with rigorous legal attacks, Patterson's methods enabled the company to fight off, bankrupt or buy-out over 80 of its early competitors and achieve control of 95% of the U.S. market.

In 1912, the company was found guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Patterson, Deeds, Watson, and 25 other NCR executives and managers were convicted for illegal anti-competitive sales practices and were sentenced to one year of imprisonment. Their convictions were unpopular with the public due to the efforts of Patterson and Watson to help those affected by the Dayton, Ohio floods of 1913, but efforts to have them pardoned by President Woodrow Wilson were unsuccessful. However, their convictions were overturned on appeal in 1915 on the grounds that important defense evidence should have been admitted.

Two million units were sold by 1922, the year John Patterson died. In 1925 the company went public with an issue of $55 million in stock, at that time the largest public offering in United States history. During World War I the company manufactured shell fuzes and aircraft instrumentation, and during World War II built aero-engines, bomb sights and code-breaking machines, including the American bombe designed by Joseph Desch.

Post-war

Building on their wartime experience, NCR became a major post-war force in developing new technology. In 1953, following their acquisition of Computer Research Corporation the previous year, the company created a specialised electronics division. In 1956, NCR introduced its first electronic device, the Class 29 Post-Tronic, a bank machine using magnetic stripe technology. With GE the company manufactured its first transistor-based computer in 1957, the NCR 304.

Also in the 1950s NCR introduced MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition). In 1962, NCR introduced the NCR-315 Electronic Data Processing System which included the CRAM storage device, the first automated mass storage alternative to magnetic tape libraries accessed manually by computer operators. The NCR 500 computer was also offered to customers who did not need the full power of the 315. The company's first all-integrated circuit computer was the Century 100 of 1968.

The company adopted the name NCR Corporation in 1974.

Small computers

In 1982, NCR became involved in open systems architecture. Its first such system was the UNIX-powered TOWER 16/32, the success of which (approximately 100,000 were sold) established NCR as a pioneer in bringing industry standards and open systems architecture to the computer market. These 5000-series systems were based on Motorola 680xx CPUs and supported NCR's proprietary transaction processing system TMX, which was mainly used by financial institutions.

In the 1980s, NCR sold various PC compatible AT-class computers, like the small form factor NCR-3390 (called an "intelligent terminal"). They proposed a customized version of MS-DOS, NCR-DOS, which for example offered support for switching the CPU between 6, 8 or 10 MHz speeds. The computers featured an improved CGA adapter, the NGA, which had a 640×400 text mode more suitable for business uses than the original 640x200 mode, with characters drawn using single-pixel-wide lines, giving an appearance similar to that of classic IBM 3270 terminals. The additional four-color 640×400 graphical mode was identical to CGA's 320×200 mode from a programming point of view.

In 1990, NCR introduced the System 3000, a seven-level family of computers based on Intel's 386 and 486 CPUs. The majority of the System 3000 range utilised IBM's Micro Channel architecture rather than the more prevalent ISA architecture, and utilised SCSI peripherals as well as the more popular parallel and serial port interfaces, resulting in a premium product with premium pricing.

Automated Teller Machines

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) is now NCR's principal product line. NCR had made its first ATM in the late 1970s with widespread installations of the model 770 in National Westminster and Barclays Banks throughout the UK, but it was not until the Model 5070, developed at its Dundee plant in Scotland and introduced in 1983 that the company began to make more serious inroads into the ATM market. Subsequent models included the 5084, 56xx, and 58xx (Personas) series. In early 2008 the company launched its new generation of ATMs - the 662x/663x SelfServ series. NCR currently commands over a third of the entire ATM market, with an estimated $18 trillion being withdrawn from NCR ATMs every year. In addition, NCR's expertise in this field lead the company to contract with the U.S. Military to support the Eagle Cash program with customized ATMs.

NCR 5xxx series

The NCR 5xxx-series is the range of (ATM's) produced by NCR from the early 1980s. Most models were designed and initially manufactured at its Dundee factory in Scotland, but later produced at several other locations around the world.

There have been several distinct generations:

  • 50xx-series; The initial models introduced in 1983 were the 5070 (interior vestibule) and 5080 (Through The Wall or TTW) introduced a number of features which have become standard among ATM's - chiefly the individual functions of the ATM are divided among discrete modules which can be easily removed and replaced for repair or replenishment. The 5080 featured the standard anti-vandal smoked perspex screen which covered the keypad and screen until the cardholder inserted their card. The enhanced 5084 TTW model appeared in 1987, and had an improved anti-vandal fascia and was the first ATM to dispense with the need for the retracting perspex screen. The 5085 offered the first crude deposit function; with the machine supplying the desposit envelopes which were subsequently stored in the machine's safe for subsequent back office processing.
  • 56xx-series; produced from 1991 to 1997. Enhanced functions such as colour displays and improved security and usability functions became available. The introduction of Media Entry Indicators (MEI) which highlight the card entry slot to the customer was also a part of this series. Some 56xx machines produced between 1994–1996 were badged as AT&T rather than NCR, mirroring the company's brief ownership under the telecoms giant in the mid 1990s. 56xx models have included the 5670 (interior lobby cash dispense only), 5675 (interior lobby multifunction - dispense & deposit), 5684 (exterior TTW dispense only) and 5685 (exterior TTW multifunction).
  • 58xx-series marketed as Personas from 1998 to the present. These models were characterised by the gradual move towards greater ATM functionality including intelligent, envelopeless deposit by means of automated cheque recognition modules, coin dispense, and electronic cash recognition functions which allows bank customers to deposit cash and cheques with instant processing of the transaction. The 58xx series has also been characterised by the gradual introduction of LCD displays instead of the traditional CRT monitor. Models have included the 5870 (compact interior lobby dispense only), 5873 (interior lobby with cash accept & deposit only), 5874 (Exterior TTW cash dispense), 5875 (Multifunction TTW). The latest TTW versions of the Personas line, introduced in 2000 and marketed as M-Series added functions such as cash recycling, coin dispense, barcode reading, a larger 12" LCD display with touchscreen option, and for the first time, a common wall footprint for both the Multifunction (5886) or single function (5887).

NCR 66XX series

NCR's 6th generation of ATMs have been noted for the further move towards intelligent deposit and the expansion of secondary functions such as barcode reading.

  • 667x-series marketed under the Personas M-Series brand were introduced in 2005 to the present. These models consist of the 6676 (interior lobby multifunction), and 6674' (interior lobby single function).

AT&T

NCR was acquired September 19, 1991 by AT&T for $7.4 billion and was joined with Teradata Corporation on February 28, 1992. As an AT&T subsidiary, its 1992 year-end headcount was 53,800 employees and contractors. By 1993, the subsidiary produced a year-end $1.287 billion net loss on $7.265 billion in revenue. The net losses continued in 1994 and 1995, losses that required repeated subsidies from the parent company and resulted in a 1995 year-end headcount of 41,100. During these three years, AT&T was the former NCR's largest customer, accounting for over $1.5 billion in revenue.

For a while, starting in 1994 the subsidiary was renamed AT&T Global Information Solutions, but in 1995, AT&T decided to spin-off the company, and in 1996, changed its name back to NCR in preparation for a spin-off. The company outlined its reasons for the spin-off in an Information Statement sent to its stockholders, which cited, in addition to "changes in customer needs" and "need for focused management time and attention", the following:

...[A]dvantages of vertical integration [which had motivated ATT's earlier acquisition of NCR] are outweighed by its costs and disadvantages....[T]o varying degrees, many of the actual and potential customers of Lucent and NCR are or will be competitors of AT&T's communications services businesses. NCR believes that its efforts to target the communications industry have been hindered by the reluctance of AT&T's communications services competitors to make purchases from an AT&T subsidiary.

NCR re-emerged as a stand-alone company on January 1, 1997.

Independence

One of NCR's first significant acquisitions after becoming independent from AT&T came in July 1997 when it purchased Compris Technologies, a privately held company in Kennesaw, Georgia that produced software for restaurant chains. In November 1997, NCR purchased Dataworks Inc., a 60-person privately held company in San Antonio, Texas.

The Montgomery County Historical Society and NCR Corporation joined in 1998 into an innovative partnership committed to preserving the voluminous NCR Archive. For more than three months in late 1999, trucks traveled between NCR's Building 28 and the Historical Society's Research Center, bringing the three million pieces of this extraordinary collection to its new home.

In 1998, NCR sold its computer hardware manufacturing assets to Solectron and ceased to produce general-purpose computer systems, focusing instead on the retail and financial industries. In 2000, NCR acquired CRM provider Ceres Integrated Solutions and services company 4Front Technologies. Recent acquisitions include self-service companies Kinetics, InfoAmerica and Galvanon, and software company DecisionPoint. In 2006, NCR acquired software company IDVelocity and the ATM manufacturing division of Tidel, a cash security equipment manufacturer specializing in retail markets. Today, NCR's R&D activity is split between its two main centres in Atlanta USA and Dundee, Scotland.

Recent developments

On January 8, 2007, NCR announced its intention to separate into two independent companies by spinning off Teradata to shareholders. Bill Nuti will continue in his current role as president and CEO of NCR, while Teradata Senior VP Mike Koehler will assume leadership of Teradata.

On 1 October 2007, NCR Corporation and Teradata jointly announced the Teradata business unit spin-off was complete, with Michael Kohler as the first CEO of Teradata.

On January 11, 2007, NCR announced plans to restructure its entire ATM manufacturing operations, with 650 jobs at its Dundee plant being cut A further 450 jobs were cut in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Management

Products

Hardware

Software

Services

Obsolete

  • Class 1000 register
  • Class 2000 bank posting machine (c. 1922-1973)
  • NCR Voyager, an i386 SMP computer platform that preceded Intel's SMP specification.

References

External links

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