by Margret Amedick and Ulf Hashagen
the name of Heinz Nixdorf (1925-1986) became a symbol for the
successful and innovative management in the German computing industry.
He led his company, founded in 1952, to the biggest German computing
company beside Siemens. His reputation of being an entrepreneur and
manager was well known, even for the American Business-Magazine
"Fortune“ he was the most capable manager of Europe.
Heinz Nixdorf’s first customer was the energy supply company RWE in Essen. They ordered an electronic calculator and provided Nixdorf with funds and a workroom for his developments. This calculator was meant to be connected to a Remington Rand tabulating machine for the calculation of electricity prices.
In the beginning, the contact with "Exacta“ in Cologne (later renamed as Wanderer-Werke AG), a manufacturer of office machines, was most important for the "Labor für Impulstechnik“. Starting in 1954, Heinz Nixdorf built electronic multiplication units (ES and EM) for the "Bull-punchcard machines“ distributed by "Wanderer“. From 1958 onwards he produced electronic multiplcation units for the electro-mechanical accounting machine "Wanderer Multitronic 6000“, and since 1962, for "Wanderer“ as well, one of the first electronic desktop calculators with a printing facility (Conti). The breakthrough as a computer manufacturer was made possible for Heinz Nixdorf with the development of the "Logatronic“, a freely programmable mini-computer for invoicing developed by Otto Müller in 1964.
enormous commercial success of the "Logotronic“ allowed him to
buy out the "Wanderer-Werke“ in 1968,
which until then was nearly his only customer. In the same year
he renamed his company to Nixdorf Computer AG (NCAG) and relocated it
to his hometown Paderborn.
efficent distribution network of the former "Wanderer“ company,
which was systematically expanded in the following, allowed Heinz
Nixdorf the marketing of his products under his own name. His most
successful products of the 1970`s was the "Nixdorf 820“, which
was an improved development of the "Logotronic“ and its
follower the "Nixdorf 8870“, which, with its special
peripherals was very successfully marketed for banks and cash register
systems. With the "820“ system,
NCAG had created a mini-computer which
was of use in both
business and administrative areas, and while inexpensive it could be
afforded by smaller companies and firms. So Nixdorf became a perfect
example of what is known in Germany as "Mittlere Datentechnik
the time of the "Wanderer“ companies takeover in 1968 the NCAG
had 1.800 employees and an annual turnover of 105 Million DM. With
annual increases in turnover of more than 20 %, the NCAG became the
fifth-largest computer manufacturer of Europe by the middle of the
Heinz Nixdorf died in 1986, the company had production plants in 7
locations, in Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United States and Singapore
and owned subsidiary companies in 44 countries all over the world.
With 26.000 employees worldwide the NCAG achieved a turnover of 4.5
1988 the company was in a crisis due to aging products and
mismanagement. High losses forced the NCAG to look for a partner. In
1990, Siemens took over the majority of shares in the NCAG, merged it
with its own computer department and renamed it Siemens Nixdorf
Informationsystems AG (SNI). Since 1992 SNI is a 100% subsidiary
company of Siemens with its own rights.
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