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SoftRAM 95 maker in Chapter 11

A controversial software vendor that recently claimed its problems were behind it files for bankruptcy.

Syncronys Softcorp, the controversial software vendor that recently claimed its problems were a thing of the past, has filed for bankruptcy.

The Los Angeles company, which won notoriety in 1995 for selling a software application that did not work, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California on July 15, according to Hayley Ramer, bankruptcy counsel for Syncronys. The company sits on approximately $4.67 million in debt and $200,000 in assets, she said.

It is unclear whether the company will try to regroup under current management or sell off its assets.

Major individual creditors include Network Associates and PC World, but a large number of the creditors are customers who have yet to receive their rebates for SoftRAM 95.

One of the biggest selling software applications in late 1995, SoftRAM 95 was supposed to compress memory on PCs running Windows 95, but didn't. A series of consumer lawsuits and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission put an end to its popularity.

Sycronsys settled the suits and, as a condition of settlement with the FTC, agreed to give customers rebates.

"I can't even tell you how many creditors there are because there are all these $10 rebates," Ramer said.

Interestingly enough, two days before the company sought bankruptcy protection, Syncronys CEO Rainer Poertner was busy touting a new product called UpgradeAID 98 and claiming that the company's problems were history.

"It's been a really long time since SoftRAM 95]. In the meantime the company has released 12 new products," he said on July 13. "We released a product in a rush with the release of Windows 95."

So far, UpgradeAID 98 has met with skepticism. The product is designed to allow consumer who upgrade their PCs to Windows 98 to revert back to Windows 95. "People want to upgrade but are nervous, because of incompatibility with drivers and modems," said Brandi Flores, product manager for Syncronys. "This allows you to stick your toe in the water."

Customers, however, appear to have long memories on this issue.

"Syncronys?the company that was brought to task for that Windows 'RAM compressor' that didn't do anything?" recollected a newsgroup poster. "The program ended up taking more RAM than giving. But [at least] it was cheap!"

Others reported that they actually purchased UpgradeAID 98 and had it crash their computers.

Chris LeTocq, an analyst at Dataquest observed that the benefits to the product were difficult to see because Windows 98 includes a feature that allows users to uninstall the operating system and return to Windows 95.

Poertner, who was at lunch, could not be reached for comment.