Costa Mesa, CA Ð Canon Computer Systems (CCSI) in January announced the formation of the Advanced Technology Operation (ATO), a new business unit headed by Al Thomason and Bret Gutzka, who recently left Epson's NEXTSTEP group to join Canon (see "Canon nabs Epson execs," NeXTWORLD Extra, January 1994).
"CCSI sees opportunity where the workstation world collides with the PC world. We're especially looking forward to continuing our close relationships within the NeXT community," said Gutzka, director of sales for ATO.
Thomason will be the group's executive director, reporting directly to CCSI President and CEO Yasuhiro Tsubota, who worked for six months with Steve Jobs at NeXT before founding CCSI.
ATO, headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon, has a charter to explore opportunities for CCSI within the high-end computing market. Sources speculate that it will produce computer systems specifically optimized for running NEXTSTEP. These systems would be sold to large corporate accounts, such as Fortune 1000 and government sites.
CCSI is a division of Canon that did over $300 million of business in 1993, its first full sales year. So far, CCSI has aimed at the "small office, home office" market; this venture represents a potential broadening of its product strategy, the company said.
According to CCSI, ATO remains unrelated to Powerhouse, a Canon division staffed by former NeXT hardware employees (see "Canon settlement complete," NeXTWORLD Extra, December 1993).