Olivetti OGE GEISI HISI Bull
Olivetti, a large office mechanical and electrical equipment located in Ivrea, in North-West Italy, embarks in the design of computers in the late 50s. It starts a cooperation with Bull, creating a joint-venture abandoned by Bull in 1962 and bought by General Electric. It operated as a division of GE, then of Honeywell until its take-over by Bull in the late 1980s. The relations between the French and the Italian operations were marked by a succession of love-hate intervals while, with only a few exceptions, the two companies sold common products .
In 1980, Saint-Gobain, at that time the prime shareholder of Bull, attempted a take-over of Olivetti, at the expense of CII-HB's ambitions in the office business. This effort failed and Saint-Gobain remained a sleeping partner in Olivetti.
In the mid 1980s, Bull (Bull-Transac division) established a joint venture (SIAB) with Olivetti, with manufacturing in Cassis, France, for designing and manufacturing banking teller equipments (ATM). Bull and Olivetti maintained separately their presence in the personal computer business that they will both quit that market in the mid 1990s.
|1949||establishment of Olivetti-Bull joint venture between Compagnie des machines Bull and Olivetti to market Bull's card equipment in Italy|
|1955||establishment under the impulse of Adriano Olivetti of an Electronic Research Laboratory in Pisa, in liaison with Pisa University under Mario Tchou.|
|1957||Development of a computer prototype (ELaboratore Elettronico Automatico) named IV at Barbaricina, a suburb of Pisa. Technology was vacuum tubes.|
|end 1957||Modification of Elea IV by using transistors|
|1958||Transfer of the Ricerche Elettroniche Olivetti from Pisa to Borgolombardo, around Milan§|
|1959||Introduction of Elea 9003, a transistorized business computer. It had a core memory of 20 to 160 KB and was using magnetic tapes. On that computer, up to 3 programs were able to run simultaneously. A key architect was Ettore Sottsass|
|circa 1960||Compagnie des Machines Bull and Olivetti 's joint venture Olivetti-Bull markets Bull's computers noticeably Gamma 60 in Italy.|
|1961||Establishment of Divisione
Elettronica Olivetti including Olivetti-Bull.
Construction of R&D center of Pregnana.
|1961||Introduction of Elea 6001 and Elea 4001|
|1963||Olivetti buys back Bull interests in Olivetti-Bull|
|31 Aug 1964||General Electric purchases 75% of Olivetti
computer business that becomes Olivetti-General Electric, later (1938) named GE
Information Systems Italia (GEISI)
However, some engineers remain within Olivetti S.p.A. to develop office automation computers (Programma 101 in 1965)
|1965||Introduction of Olivetti-General Electric GE-115 (born Elea 4001)|
|1970||GEISI is sold by General Electric to Honeywell. It will be known as HISI (Honeywell Information Systems Italia). HISI acquires responsibility for sales in the eastern Mediterranean countries (except Greece and Lebanon).|
|1974||Introduction of Series 60 Level 62 computer, running GCOS 62 designed in Pregnana and manufactured in Caluso.|
|1975||Introduction of Serial Printer with matrix character printing.|
|1979||Introduction of DPS4, a compatible upgrade of Level 62|
|1979||Denial by CII-HB of HISI proposal for
an hybrid version of DPS-4 able to run GCOS4 or GCOS7.
CII-HB was then contemplating to develop Archer, a low-cost MOS machine, that will be finally introduced in ... 1986 as DPS-7000.
|circa 1980||HISI develops for Honeywell a small member of DPS-6 product line|
|1982||HISI stops the development of DPS-4 and proprietary architectures and start to develop UNIX open systems for Honeywell, based on Motorola micro-processors.|
|1985||HISI is bought by Groupe Bull, as part as Honeywell assets.|
|circa 1988||Honeywell-Bull Italia engineering is integrated with French Systems division.|
|May 1989||Creation of Compuprint SpA, a manufacturer of serial printers|
|1992||Italy engineering is responsible of hardware development of Pegasus a multiprocessor PowerPC system developed in common with IBM Austin, sold by Bull as Escala.|
|1993||Installation of a technological center in Avellino.|
|1995||Avellino became Bull's competence center for SAP/|
|1996||Bull imposes drastic cuts in R&D and closes manufacturing in Italy.|
|Dec 2006||Bull divests its Italian assets to the Italian company Eunics|