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World’s most pervasive computer language first named 50 years ago Help celebrate COBOL’s 50th birthday at
  • 21 September, 2009 11:24

<p>NEWBURY, England, 18 September 2009 - Micro Focus® (LSE.MCRO.L), a leading provider of enterprise application management, testing and modernisation solutions, today celebrates fifty years since the name COBOL was given to the computer language which continues to underpin the modern world.</p>
<p>The name COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) was agreed during a meeting of the Short Range Committee, the organisation responsible for submitting the first version of the language, 18th September 1959. This followed a meeting at the Pentagon where guidelines for COBOL were first laid down.</p>
<p>Despite its age, COBOL still plays a pivotal role in running most of the world’s businesses and public services, from powering almost all global ATM transactions, running nearly three quarters of the world’s business applications, and booking hundreds of holidays every single day. There is understood to be over 200 billion lines of COBOL code in existence, with hundreds more being created every single day.</p>
<p>In May this year, Micro Focus published research which showed that people still use COBOL at least ten times throughout the course of an average working day. Yet, despite using the technology so often, only 18 per cent of those surveyed had ever actually heard of COBOL. Equivalent research conducted by Micro Focus in the US showed Americans rely on COBOL even more, using it at least 13 times per day.</p>
<p>Stuart McGill, CTO, Micro Focus says “COBOL can trace its origins to the very start of the computer age, yet its applications continue to deliver to businesses and the public sector every single day. In an industry constantly driven by innovation and the ‘next big thing’, it is a real testament to the language’s resilience, flexibility and relevance to the task at hand that it is still so widely used today. Customers come to us to modernise their business critical applications – not rip them out – because they hold deep business intelligence and continue to deliver value every single day. The vast majority of these applications have been written in mature languages, such as COBOL. Very few languages could make the same claim fifty years on,” concludes McGill.</p>
<p>Mike Gilpin, analyst at Forrester research and former COBOL programmer states, “…32 per cent of enterprises say they still use COBOL for development or maintenance… COBOL is one of the few languages written in the last 50 years that's readable and understandable… Modern programming languages are ridiculously hard to understand."</p>
<p>About Micro Focus
Micro Focus, a member of the FTSE 250, provides innovative software that allows companies to dramatically improve the business value of their enterprise applications. Micro Focus Enterprise Application Modernization, Testing and Management software enables customers’ business applications to respond rapidly to market changes and embrace modern architectures with reduced cost and risk. For additional information please visit</p>

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