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The irony of the ending was that on the day the doors closed, the sales and marketing organization had reached agreement to sell and deliver over 40 systems to a major organization in Australia.
More irony was spewed when the US Government informed CDC (as there was no ETA Systems) that they were ready to purchase large ETA Systems computer products.
Each employee who agreed to join was granted ETA Systems Inc. After the announcement, the team quickly moved to a new facility in St.
Paul Energy Park located approximately 10 miles to the south of ADL.
The first two or three opportunities from external funding sources were promptly rejected by CDC.
This was a confusing exercise: on one hand CDC spun out ETA Systems to relieve itself from a financial burden, but on the other hand it knew if third parties became joint owners they would lose their exclusive decision making clout.
Reception to funding initially was cautionary considering that the company hardware was focused on cryogenically cooled integrated circuitry.
A major concern by potential investors was the technology and only after a total technology failure by a start up company formed by the legendary Gene Amdahl— Trilogy—did ETA Systems get serious investment attention.
Dedicated access to a CDC Cyber-205 supercomputer was also provided for hardware and software development.
CDC decided to create a subsidiary funded initially by Control Data but eventually to become a spin-off company funded by public financing.
It was a kind of ‘cake and eat it too’ scenario where CDC planned to reduce ownership across time.
Since the subsidiary was initially funded solely by CDC, great care was made by the newly formed ETA Systems executives to accommodate requests by CDC executives.
One such request was to provide pseudo-security systems for CDC executives who had hunting and fishing cabins in northern Minnesota (a far cry from supercomputers).
The executives surmised these small false—and functionally useless—security looking boxes having both a blinking light and antenna could be placed in the window of their vacant and remote cabins, and would potentially be a deterrent to would–be thieves. Lloyd, the ETA Systems president, directed that while the facility was being organized upwards of 50 or so of these devices would be fabricated. In record time the Energy Park facility became operational and those responsible for development of hardware and software were busy at work.