Opticom was established in 1994. The research and development work in the company was led by Hans Gude Gudesen, and with Gudesen on the ownership side were the two British investors Robert Keith and Thomas Fussell.
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Robert Keith og Thomas Fussell
In the autumn of 1999, Opticom entered into a cooperation agreement with the American giant Intel, and according to Opticom’s chairman Thomas Fussell, the two companies were to carry out product development together for 18 months before the products went on sale. At this time, Hans Gude Gudesen showed enormous optimism for the future, and stated to Dagens Næringsliv that “after all, we are trying to shut down Silicon Valley”. Some market analysts interpreted the agreement as Intel vouching for Opticom’s technology, while skeptics pointed out that very little was known about what the agreement entailed in practice. In any case, the agreement resulted in Opticom’s stock market value multiplying, and the company became one of the largest on Oslo Børs.
Hans Gude Gudesen
No concrete products ever came out of this Intel deal, and during 2000 the Opticom price fell sharply. The market had begun to doubt whether there would ever be commercial results from the company’s research and development work. The agreement between Opticom and Intel was nevertheless renewed in 2001, and even then the Opticom management believed that they were 18 months away from starting sales. In the years that followed, the Norwegian press began to write far more critically about the Intel/Opticom collaboration, and in several newspaper articles it emerged that Intel did not see the Norwegian company as as important to its future as Gudesen, Keith and Fussell had given the impression of .Opticom Motherboard ™
The Intel collaboration dissolved in 2004, after Thin Film Electronics had never been able to deliver products to Intel as agreed. In the financial market, Opticom’s entire potential for financial success had been linked to the relationship with Intel, despite the fact that no information had ever been made public about what the collaboration actually entailed. Later that year, Opticom’s research and development work also largely disintegrated, and when they laid off 45 employees at Thin Film’s research facility in Linköping and seven out of eleven employees in the USA, the majority of the operative business was closed down.