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Goodbye Itronix. General Dynamics pulls the plug on line of ultrarugged computers

The Itronix product line, at one time one of the area's chief tech products, is finished.

General Dynamics, which acquired Itronix in 2005, confirmed this week it's dropped the production of all GD Itronix “rugged” products.

Itronix was a spinoff from metering firm Itron. Its original product line was handheld meters used by utility crews. Over time it expanded into rugged, highly durable laptops and tablets.

In 2009 General Dynamics, one of the nation's largest defense contractors, announced it would move all Itronix operations from Spokane to Florida. That decision resulted in the loss of 380 Spokane jobs.

Last winter General Dynamics plugged the plug. A company spokesman sent this note this week:

“Regarding General Dynamics Itronix products, we continually assess our business and make changes to ensure efficiency in our operations.In September 2012, we determined that it is in the best interest of our customers and business to end-of-life the General Dynamics Itronix branded computing products.  We will ensure that customer support for products under warranty obligations will be honored.”

You have to wonder how the phrase “end-of-life” ever became a verb.

As a blogger at RuggedPCReview Blog put it, Itronix was a company whose ownership was always in flux.

“Itronix was started in 1989 as a unit of meter-reading company Itron …It was then sold to rugged computer maker Telxon in 1993. In 1997, telecom testing gear company Dynatech Corp. bought Itronix from Telxon for about $65 million. Dynatech changed its name to Acterna in 2000, but fell on hard times and sold Itronix to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in 2003 for just US$40 million in cash. Golden Gate held on to it for a couple of years before General Dynamics came along. — The band Jefferson Starship comes to mind here, with Grace Slick charging 'Someone always playing corporation games; Who cares they're always changing corporation names.' ”


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