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History (1993): Overland Acquires Cipher Product Lines From Conner for $9 Million

Half-inch tape drives

Overland Data Inc. (San Diego, CA) has disclosed its letter of intent for the purchase of two product lines from Cipher in the half-inch tape drive market.

Under terms of a $9 million agreement with Cipher’s parent company, Conner Peripherals, Inc., Overland will gain the engineering, manufacturing and marketing rights for selected Cipher products as well as the rights to the Cipher brand name in exchange for a combination of cash, notes and convertible preferred stock of Overland.

By merging the 2 Cipher products into its existing line, Overland will create a broad offering of tape drives and PC subsystems that includes the Cipher Model M955, a 9-track drive; and the Cipher Model T480, a 3480-format half-inch cartridge drive.

While 9-track has been marketed for years, Bill Westlake, VP marketing, Overland, notes that the this format is the only universal standard for data interchange among PCs, workstations and mainframes: “Even if there was another standard, there’s such a huge base of 9-track tapes already out there – over 400 million reels in all – that the demand for 9-track tapes will continue for many, many years to come. With the addition of the Cipher M995, now more than ever, we’ve positioned to meet that demand.”

Overland was founded in 1980 with the introduction of the first controller card for connecting PC to half-inch reel-to-reel (9-track) tape drive. The company followed with its own software for data transfer and data backup. In 1990, the company developed and introduced its own line of 9-track drives (TapePro) designed specifically for use with PCs and workstations. It is a privately-held company with current sales of $12 million per year and 75 employees.

This article is an abstract of news published on the former paper version of Computer Data Storage Newsletter on issue 64, published on May 1993.