TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Question About ROLM PBX Telephones

Re: Question About ROLM PBX Telephones

Mon, 13 Dec 2004 08:38:01 GMT

ROLM was a stand alone company and originally made Mil Spec flight
computers ... the CBX (7000 and later the 8000 line) came from the
computer side of the company. IBM did not buy into ROLM until the
early-mid 80s ... by then, ROLM had climbed to the #2 PBX maker in
North America (ahead of ATT but behind Nortel). IBM was responsible
for the 9751 CBX (which was a overhauled designed of the VLCBXII 9000;
my former company had SN #2 of the VLs in the 80s. The software was
similar but the hardware was different). The color was changed as the
original ROLM switches had Orange doors. The newer ROLM cabinets were
white with the IBM blue logo seen in some areas ...(the BLUEING of RED
ROLM it was called).

Siemens bought into ROLM in the 90s ... and in 94, IBM sold ROLM entirely to
Siemens...Siemens then changed the name of their HCM200 to the ROLM 9200 CBX
(it was NOT ANYWHERE NEAR THE REAL ROLMS!) and then introduced the "new"
Models30 and 80 of the 9751 series calling them the 9006i line (i standing
for the Intel processor the Siemens boxes used vs the Motorola CPU the
original 9751, now called the 9005/6m used).

But the "new" models were totally different from the legacy 9751s
(actually they were Siemens HCM300 PBXs renamed) and users did not
like the new switch ... it still does not perform like an older ROLM
CBX (which was the best on the market at the height of its time ...
too bad it did not implement ISDN properly. )

The name ROLM is pretty much gone now ... Siemens dropped the ROLM
name from its web site and most of the equipment ... the only thing
Siemens kept from ROLM was PhoneMail ... but that has been outlived by
its new offering, Xpressions 470 ... which is a multimedia offering;
but keeping the same voice and operating codes, etc ...(the only thing
Siemens did RIGHT with the ROLM line).

The 9751-9005/6m is out of production but still being supported
... 9005.6.84 was the last software release for it. There are
thousands of 8000CBXs still in service ... (but they are slowing being
replaced). The 9751-9006i was renamed back to the HCM300 and has
gotten better but still doesn't have certain features that the legacy
9751 did ! Siemens really did in ROLM and now trails Avaya and other
PBX makers in installed systems in the US ...(down to #10 IIRC).

(former ROLM tech)

<> wrote in message

> ROLM was originally an IBM CBX / PBX voice switching venture that was
> in North America's arrival was purchased away from the German company
> SEIMENS. IBM made many advancements and improvements to the systems
> proprietary operating system and architecture (Americanizing it). IBM
> later sold the ROLM CBX / PBX product back to SEIMENS for a handsome
> profit.

> SEIMENS then revised the o/s and architecture with it's own
> German touch. Their new systems struggled mightly to hang on as third
> most distributed voice switching platform in North America. Consumers
> and system administrators were clearly NOT impressed with what had been
> re-engineered or otherwise taken back to a Version 1.0 release. The
> early versions of HICOM (SEIMENS revised ROLM) lost much of the market
> it had locked into for years. Loyal customers were no longer loyal to
> the ROLM name. A terrific interactive ROLM User Guide still exist and
> serves those who still run on the american~ized ROLM 9751 9004 & 9005
> platforms. That web-site is

> Joseph Bergstein wrote:

>> In a message from Martin McCormick, he states:

>>> The Rolm PBX'S are made by Seimens, as far as I know.

>> ROLM PBX'x have been made by the Rolm Company since they were
>> founded. As I recall, ROLM actually started out manufacturing
>> MILSPEC Nova (Data General) computers in the early '70s. I recall
>> seeing them as the console computer on early Amdahl 470 mainframes.

>> Rolm PBXs up to and including the current 9751 are still made by
>> ROLM. Since the ROLM - Siemens merger, and subsequent acquisition,
>> the two firms indicate that they are merging their technology
>> platforms, but so far Siemens does not make ROLM PBX's, per se
>> (other than now owning the ROLM company).

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