B. Description of a company
I. Read this description and complete the information below:
Micropol AT is a highly profitable software company with a workforce of over 1,000 and an annual turnover of $300 million. Its main products are applications programs for industry as well as for educational institutions. Its many customers include small and medium-sized companies, government departments as well as students.
The company was founded in Santa Monica, California, in 1978. The original founders, Karen Sawyer and Lee Heng, were still students when they went into business. Their idea was only to earn some extra money. Micropol began to grow rapidly and by 1980 turnover was over $4m.
Initially the company worked on the area of Software Consulting. However, in 1982 Sawyer and Heng introduced the first version of the Adword word-processing program. It was an immediate success. Students liked it because it was easier to use than other programs on the market.
In 1985 Lee Heng left Micropol and set up his own company, Intertrack. Karen Sawyer is still Company President and thinks that Micropol has a bright future. The company has ambitious plans. There are plans for a joint venture with Katio, the leading Japanese computer firm.
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Name of Company ________________
Workforce __________ Location ____________ Turnover ____________
Profits _____________ Market ______________ Plans _______________
II. Group work
Use these partnerships to complete the dialogue. Then compose similar dialogue in pairs about your working place and company or the post and the structure you would like to work.
two main divisions on the publishing side in the pipeline
about 500 people directly under fairly diversified (многоотраслевой)
Frank: So how do you like you new firm, Jean?
Jean: Great. It’s a ….. company called Selmar.
Frank: I see. What kind of company is it?
Jean: It’s part of a group. There are ….. – paper production and publishing.
Frank: That sounds interesting. Which area are you in?
Jean: I’m …. – in charge of book distribution in France and Belgium.
Frank: It’s a big operation, I suppose.
Jean: You’re right. There are …. in publishing. I’ve got 25 people …. me.
Frank: And what about the future?
Jean: Oh, there are big expansion plans … We’re moving into North America next year. And after that, who knows?
C. Company history
I. Read the text about the French company, Bic. Can you name three of Bic’s products?
Bic’s success in a throwaway
Bic is a household name, synonymous with a disposable age*
Few companies can say that they are responsible for changing the everyday habits of billions of people throughout the world, but the French company Bic, founded in 1950, is one that can.
The ballpoint pen came first. The original biros – named after Lazlo Biro, their Hungarian inventor – were expensive and difficult to use. Baron Marcel Bich, the owner of a small office supplies company, brought together French and British scientists to refine* and modify* the design. He negotiated the rights to produce and sell the pen with Biro. Production of the Bic “Crystal” began in 1953. The “Crystal” had a clear blue plastic tube and a visible ink supply which was sufficient to draw a line three kilometers long.
Sales rose from around 50,000 a week in the first year to a quarter of a million a day by 1956. Today sales of Bic writing instruments total more than 20 million a day in 160 countries.
Bich was not content with a one-product business and wanted to find other throwaway ideas. In 1972 came the disposable lighter. It is another success story which made Bic world leaders in the sector, with daily sales of disposable lighters now numbering almost 4 million.
Bic’s winning formula was a combination of simplicity of production and reliability; the company claims that its lighters will work 3,000 times compared with competing brands’ 1,000.
The company used healthy profits to invest in its third major product range – the throwaway
razor – in 1975. It now contests market leadership with Gillette.* Bic subsequently diversified
further – into windsurfing boards and fashion – but the three original throwaway ideas remain its
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