Intergraph ventures into PCs

In 1969, Jim Meadlock left his job as an IBM Corp. contractor at NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center to found Intergraph Corp. of Huntsville, Ala. Now its chairman and
chief executive officer, he has built Intergraph into a $1.1 billion hardware and software
business.


Intergraph made its name selling proprietary Unix workstations with other
companies' geographic information systems and computer-aided design products. Now,
Intergraph has shifted its emphasis from Unix to Intel-based desktop systems and servers
running Microsoft Windows operating systems.


GCN associate editor Bill Murray interviewed Jim Meadlock by phone from Meadlock's
office in Huntsville.


GCN: Do you see yourself competing directly with Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway
2000 Inc.?


MEADLOCK: Yes, but we're more aimed at professional users than Gateway, which has a lot
of home users.


We're certainly coming at this from what we think we're best at: graphics. We're
combining high-end graphics with an aggressive price point.


GCN: But aren't you getting into lower-end CAD with packages like Imagineer
Technical?


MEADLOCK: Imagineer is an associative design and drafting system that costs around
$500, which is much lower than our traditional price point for software.


We don't see it as a replacement for Bentley [Systems Inc.'s MicroStation] and
[Autodesk Inc.'s] AutoCAD as much as we see it extending the market to more designers and
engineers.


GCN: How is Windows NT doing in the government?


MEADLOCK: We've really led the charge in terms of bringing the technical environment
into the NT world in a volume sense. That's still just beginning to happen, but we see
parts of the Defense Department that are Unix strongholds embracing NT.


In our Navy Computer-Aided Design-2 contracts, we've seen less interest in Unix and
more interest in hardware for simulation and design, networking and communications, so
everyone can be wired together on a network to send e-mail and do battlefield simulations.


We're one of the first vendors to sell Network File System support software for the
Unix transition to help customers access Unix files [from Windows PCs].


GCN: What other trends are you seeing in the federal marketplace?


MEADLOCK: We're seeing more outsourcing to fulfill needs on limited budgets. There's
more interest in Windows and NT products because they're cheaper. You get more seats at a
lower price.


You used to need salespeople [to sell products], but with the [General Services
Administration] schedule, a good reputation and advertising, people know what they want
and just call the vendor.


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