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nCUBE was a series of parallel computing computers from the company of the same name. Early generations of the hardware used a custom microprocessor. With its final generations of servers, nCUBE no longer designed custom microprocessors for machines, but used server class chips manufactured by a third party in massively parallel hardware deployments, primarily for the purposes of on-demand video.


Company history

nCUBE was founded in 1983 in Beaverton, Oregon by a group of Intel employees frustrated by Intel's reluctance to enter the parallel computing market, though Intel released their iPSC/1 in the same year as the first nCUBE was released. In December 1985, the first generation of nCUBE's hypercube machines were released. The second generation was launched in June 1989. The third generation was released in 1995.

In 1988, Larry Ellison invested heavily into nCUBE and became the company's majority share holder. The company's headquarters was relocated to Foster City, California to be closer to the Oracle Corporation. In the 1990s, nCUBE shifted its focus from the parallel computing market to the Video on demand (VOD) video server market. In 1994, Ronald Dilbeck became chief executive officer and set nCUBE on a fast track to an initial public offering.

In 1996, Ellison downsized nCUBE and Dilbeck departed. Ellison took over as acting CEO and redirected the company to become Oracle's network computer division. After the network computer diversion, nCUBE resumed development on video servers. nCUBE deployed its first VOD video server in Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai.

In 1999, nCUBE announced it was acquiring a seven year old Louisville, Colorado software company SkyConnect, Inc., developers of digital advertising and VOD software for cable television and partner in their Burj Al-Arab hotel deployment. The company was once again on IPO fast-track, only to be halted again after the bursting of Dot-com bubble. In 2000, SeaChange International filed a suit against nCUBE, alleging its nCUBE's MediaCube-4 product infringed on a SeaChange patent. A jury upheld the validity of SeaChange's patent and awarded damages. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit subsequently overturned the ruling on June 29, 2005.

As fallout from the dot-com bubble bursting, the recession, and the lawsuit, in April 2001 nCUBE laid-off 17% of its work force and began closing offices (Foster City in 2002 and Louisville in 2003) to downsize and consolidate the company around the Beaverton manufacturing office. Also in 2001, after acquiring patents from Oracle's interactive television division, nCUBE filed a patent infringement suit against SeaChange claiming that their competitor's video server offering violated its VOD patent on delivery to set-top boxes. nCUBE won the law suit and was awarded over $2 million in damages.

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