Computers: Wearing Out the Insulation

When their industry was in its youth, computer men lived in a world of their own, immune to most of the gyrations of the rest of the economy. Now the industry is well established, and to its dismay is no longer insulated from such problems as the general business slowdown, reductions in federal contracts, stiffening competition and tight money.

Last week, for example, Control Data Corp. of Minneapolis announced that it had suffered "substantial" losses in computer operations in the first quarter, and would lay off an unspecified number of workers throughout the nation. The company specializes in making very...

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