Oric Products International Ltd
Oric Products International Ltd was founded around 1983 by the parent company Tangerine Computer Systems.
Tangerine Computer Systems was a British microcomputer company founded in 1979 by Dr. Paul Johnson, Mark Rainer and Nigel Penton Tilbury in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.
The very first product was the successful TAN1648 VDU kit that received widespread acclaim in the tech press.
The home computer market started to move, albeit slowly, and it was essential to be present. Development and expansion were necessary. It was decided that the latter two partners would relinquish their involvement in order to focus on their consultancy work.
Barry Muncaster became operationally involved and the company moved to new premises in Ely, Cambridgeshire. The company was later renamed and was known as Oric Products.
With the success of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Tangerine’s financiers proposed a home computer and Tangerine formed Oric Products International Ltd to develop and release the Oric-1 in 1983. A series of Oric computers (including the Atmos) followed until 1987.
On October 13, 1983, the Kenure Plastics plant in Berkshire, where the Oric-1 was manufactured, burned to the ground. The factory was rebuilt, minus a significant stock of bits (including 15,000 old ROMs) that went on to make up the Oric-1. Meanwhile, production is said to have resumed in a new factory within 24 hours. Just a day later, a neighboring warehouse went up in flames. At the time, police suspected that the arsonist was in the wrong place the first time. It was also around this time that Tansoft started living with Oric Research in the Techno Park, Cambridge.
About 160,000 Oric-1s were sold in the UK in 1983 and a further 50,000 in France (where it was the best-selling machine that year). While not forecasting 350,000, it was enough for Oric International to be bought by Edenspring and get £4 million in financing. This enabled the release of the Oric Atmos, an improved successor to the Oric-1 that featured a real keyboard and improved ROM.
While the Atmos failed to turn Oric’s fortunes around, they announced several future models in early 1985, including an IBM compatible and an MSX compatible. On February 1, they demonstrated the Oric Stratos/IQ164 at the Frankfurt Computer Show; however, in 2nd, Edenspring placed Oric International in receivership of Tansoft, then a standalone company in May.
The French company Eureka bought the remains of Oric and, after renaming itself, continued production of the Stratos under that name, followed by the Oric Telestrat in late 1986.
In December 1987, after the announcement of the Telestrat 2, Oric International went into receivership for the second and last time.