The Ultimate Corp aka Ultimate Computer Corp

Ultimate Computer Corporation, also known more simply as Ultimate Corp, was built up by Theodore M "Ted" Sabarese starting about 1978 into a "$200 million-dollar business".


This article written 2011 by Will Johnson for Fast Forward Technologies.  Email me at
See also the Pick Operating System Portal

Ultimate Computer Corporation, also known more simply as Ultimate Corp, was built up by Theodore M "Ted" Sabarese starting about 1978 into a "$200 million-dollar business".  Ted was initially a reseller for Microdata starting in or around 1973, but sold that to Microdata in or around 1978, and started Ultimate.

When Pick and Associates were thrown out of Microdata, they continued working with the database and enlisted Sabarese to be a hardware vendor.  (Ian Sandler in his book implies that IN2 was implemented before Ultimate.)

Ultimate, like Microdata, specialized in the Pick Operating System marketplace.  Ultimate's first Pick implementation was on the Honeywell Level 6 machine.  One of the more odd implementation of Pick which Ultimate did, was with an add-in board to the Vax and also the MicroVax.  The board did all the logic, essentially bypassing VMS, except for peripheral handling. (I worked on such a system for two years at Life Extension Institute in New York City.)  Let me tell you, it was a bear to do a full upgrade on that box, a weekend-long event.

Ted was one of the key players in the formation of the Spectrum Manufacturers Association, an industry consortium of sixteen companies, all selling their own versions of Pick, in the 1980s.

Mark Johnson here mentions that in the mid-80s Ultimate was selling a package called SHIMS (Supply House Inventory Management System) and got a lot of sales through that.  He mentions that it was a derivative of Microdata's Results package.

Ron Walenciak in a message to the U2 Users List (8 Feb 2011) states that Ultimate did a port on the PC using MSDOS.  Ultimate left that marketplace because there was not enough profit in selling a PC even with the software.

A few excerpts from
"Thomson accepts US post in high-tech venture", "The Age", 23 Sep 1986

"Mr John Thompson, general manager of Ultimate Computer for the past three years and managing director of Prime Computer before that, is moving to the United States to help launch a new high-technology enterprise.

"Mr Thompson will become a founding investor and vice-president of Dataview Corporation in New Jersey"

"His partners in the new venture are former United States employees of Ultimate Computer: Mr Mike O'Donnell, who was the chief operating officer and Mr Frank Kacerak, head of research and development."

"Mr Thompson turned 50 last July...."

"As general manager of Ultimate Computer for the past three years, Mr Thompson turned the Australian hardware distributor into a manufacturer and exporter of computers."

"Mr Brian Dean will succeed Mr Thompson as the Australian general manager of Ultimate Computer, a US-based company with a substantial Australian shareholding.  Mr Thompson, who has worked in the computer industry for nearly 22 years, was managing director of Prime Computer of Australia for about three years...."

"BUSINESS PEOPLE; Ultimate Officer Named Chairman and President", By DANIEL F. CUFF, Business Day, New York Times, 14 Jun 1989
Michael J O'Donnell, age 34, previously executive vice-president and chief operating officer, was named as chairman and president.

"BUSINESS PEOPLE; Ultimate's Ex-Leader Heads Digital Products" , Business Day, New York Times, 2 Aug 1990
In 1990 Theodore M "Ted" Sabarese became president and chief executive of Digital Products Corporation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He was then 50 years old, and coming out of bankruptcy protection, related to an airplane leasing operation, not related to Ultimate.

An Aug 1997 article in "The Chief Executive", a sort of looking backward piece, quotes apparently from about 1981 the following:

"Forging a Strategic Alliance Among Hotly Competitive Companies

More than a year ago, executives from 16 computer-systems companies joined together in a strategic alliance... Spectrum Manufacturers Association....

When discussions began, we were almost overwhelmed by two immediate concerns:

* How can we guarantee against sabotage in a trade association?

* What difficulties will arise due to problems between members?

The mechanics of organizing such an alliance brought up other concerns:

* Can 16 competitors agree at a 100 percent level on anything?

* Can a single holdout paralyze a whole alliance?

* Is it safe for the larger companies to allow the smaller companies an equal vote?

* Is it wise to let the slowest-moving competitor lower the common denominator?

* Can we afford to put all our software and firmware developers in one room? Won't secrets leak out?

* Won't strong-willed personalities doom the effort before it starts? The alliance is only one year old, yet a great deal has been accomplished.... We have shown the computing world that a standard "railbed" is possible.

- Leonard N. Mackenzie, General Automation; George Ridgway, Systems Management; and Theodore Sabarese, The Ultimate Corporation. Winter 1980-81."

The Ultimate name or license or customer base was acquired, in some way I don't yet know, by an outfit in Florida which around 2000 was called OSS.  The main contact person at that time was Max Rosa.  There were, at that time, still a number of customers running the Ultimate system.  I'm not aware of how many might be on it today (2011).  One of the issues with converting off the system, was the use of the UPDATE language,  which no comparable vendor had replicated.  So any customer wishing to convert, had to analyze their business usage and needs from scratch or from the code, and then re-create those in a new system, or buy a system close to what they needed.  At least to replace the UPDATE code that is.

See Also