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Sydis and the Voice/Data Terminal Craze of 1984
April-June 2004 (vol. 26 no. 2)
pp. 22-33
Albert J. Henry, The Prologue Group
Henry Venture, The Prologue Group
Glenn E. Bugos, The Prologue Group
In 1984, computing firms saw integrated voice/data terminals (IVDTs) as the solution to the proliferation of new forms of executive communication. The Sydis VoiceStation was hailed as the best of this new class of office machine but, like all IVDTs, it failed. Sydis succumbed to "integration stress," one danger of product development driven by the urge to integrate traditionally discrete functions. Sydis also failed from poor integration of financial and market actors.

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2. This is often referred to as Perkin's law, after venture capitalist Thomas J. Perkins of Kleiner Perkins Caufield&Byers; see, for example, David A. Kaplan, The Silicon Boys and Their Valley of Dreams, William Morrow and Co., 1999, p. 176.
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10. "Executive Changes," New York Times,7 Mar. 1984, p. D2/1.
11. "Sydis Inc.," Teleconnect, May 1984. This article also was photocopied into "Section IV: Company Product Literature and Technical Reprints" in the Morgan Stanley Private Placement Memorandum.
12. J. Dix, "GTE Voice/Data Workstation Bows at Show," Computerworld,14 May 1984, p. 13; P.J. Gill, "GTE to Combat AT&T with Sydis OEM Pact," Information Systems News, 30 Apr. 1984; and J. King, "Joint Pacts, Systems Sprout at ICA," Information Systems News,14 May 1984.
13. S. Toy, "Can McDonnell Douglas Make its Computers Fly," Business Week,4 May 1987, pp. 121-122.
14. On the demise of the IVDT market, see E. Winninghoff, "Few Rave about PC/Fones," Datamation,15 Dec. 1984, pp. 44-48; John Gantz, "When Will Telecomputers Take Off," InfoWorld,22 Apr. 1985, p. 38; J.O. Green, "Merging Voice and Data," Computer Decisions,12 Mar. 1985, pp. 84-94; A.L. Stockberger and E. Cascio, "Status Report: Multimessage Platforms," Business Comm. Rev., vol. 21, Dec. 1991, pp. 47-50; J. Davies, "Stensrud Happily Takes Place on Sidelines of Start-up Game," San Diego Source,20 June 2000, p. 1+ ; and L. Aragon, "Back to Basics," Red Herring,30 Aug. 2000.
15. J.O. Green, "Merging Voice and Data," Computer Decisions,12 Mar. 1985, p. 84.
16. J. Dix, "Integrated Voice/Data Terminals: Orphans in the Desktop Market," Computerworld,20 Jan. 1986, p. 2.
17. A. Pollack, "A Document that Can Talk," New York Times,1 Mar. 1984, p. D2.

Albert J. Henry, Henry Venture, Glenn E. Bugos, "Sydis and the Voice/Data Terminal Craze of 1984," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 22-33, April-June 2004, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2004.1299656
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