xNote: In late 1976, George Comstock, who was one of the founders of the daisy-wheel printer manufacturer Diablo Systems, left Diablo after it was purchased by Xerox and started Durango Systems on Bubb Road in Cupertino, California, across the street from another startup, Apple Computer. (We figured that the kids over at Apple would never make it with their underpowered little box).
Comstock's goal was to produce a business computer system constructed around the then fairly-new microprocessor to compete with minicomputer systems which were commanding a significant market share.
From the start, the plan was to create a multi-user system that could run the same applications as the more popular minis. Licensing was obtained from Mini Computer Business Associates (MCBA) for the source for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory, Payroll and General Ledger applications.
In mid-1981, IBM released for sale a much-rumored "personal" computer, named the 5150. When taken as just another entry in the market, it didn't seem like much. It was expensive and rather underpowered. What was under-appreciated was the public perception of IBM as "the" computer company and the wide acceptance of the PC.
Durango had been planning a 16-bit system for some time, based on the Intel 8086, but decided to go IBM one better and market a completely new system using the 80186 and the 80286 as an add-in option. The Durango "Poppy" was born. MS-DOS was selected as the entry operating system, the integrated printer was dropped (Japanese printers from Epson, Oki and NEC were priced below the cost of incorporating one). The integrated video and keyboard were abandoned in favor of a standard terminal made by Beehive.
With the 80286, one could run Xenix in multi-tasking mode, but the 80186-only version was stuck with MS-DOS and single user mode. A decision was made to use 'C' as the programming language and the re-launching of the MCBA applications and Star BASIC under Xenix resulted in an implemntation that ran no faster than the lowly F-85.
Worst of all, the MS-DOS implementation was PC-compatible only in a cosmetic way--all of the I/O was different; there was no compatible BIOS and no memory-mapped video.
Priced at significantly more than a PC, it was inevitable that sales would be lackluster at best. It was worse than that--sales plummeted.
In 1982, Durango merged with Molecular Systems in a mutual attempt to keep the wolf from the door. Molecular's specialty was a multi-user S-100 system using one processor per user. A great idea, but no competition for the ubiquitous PC. The new Molecular went into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1984.