International Computers Limited, or ICL, was a large British computer hardware, computer software and computer services company that operated from 1968 until 2002 when it was acquired, and renamed Fujitsu Services Limited after its parent company, Fujitsu. The company's most successful product line was the ICL 2900 Series range of mainframe computers.
In later years, ICL attempted to diversify its product line but the bulk of its profits always depended on the mainframe customer base. New ventures included marketing a range of powerful IBM clones made by Fujitsu, various minicomputer and personal computer ranges and (more successfully) a range of retail point-of-sale equipment and back-office software. Despite significant sales in overseas markets, ICL's mainframe base was dominated by large contracts from the UK public sector. Significant customers included Post Office Ltd, the Inland Revenue, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Defence. ICL also had a strong market share with UK local authorities and (at that time) nationalized utilities including the water, electricity, and gas boards, and the Post Office. This presence continued when the utilities were privatized by the Thatcher government. There is one school of thought that the formation of ICL, with guaranteed access to Government procurements, was the seed of its downfall. The innovation in development was always sublimated to meet HMG requirements.
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