!Re: Nuke Redmond!

From: Richard Erlacher <edick_at_idcomm.com>
Date: Sun Apr 9 13:54:08 2000

Yes, KO thought the DEC product line should be marketed to professionals.
However, at the time, the people to whom a computer product had to be
marketed was the hobbyists. It had been amply demonstrated that, no matter
how marginally it fit, the personal computer as marketed to hobbyists would
"do" in place of the supermini, with the trend toward distributed processing
spreading wildly, while no one could replace the 1000 or so PC's that cost
what a supermini cost with a supermini. Professionals were, themselves,
aware of this surprising reality, and couldn't defend the place of the
high-priced supermini. Once Internet connectivity became another major
market, the PC architecture killed off the supermini for simple cost

DEC had also had a few marketing flops along the way. Their PC market
entries were referred to as "DEC-SHACK" computers at the major Post Office
facility where my neighbor works. Their Pro-380 didn't do so well next to
PC's costing less than half what they did. The high cost of DEC software
licenses didn't help either.

About 15 years ago, I was put in the position of demonstrating that a
cluster of '386 PC's would outperform a custer of microVAXen in a given
environment. What brought down the house was by how much they outdid them.
I was not nearly as sure of myself about that comparison as I had been in
the previous SCSI/ESDI comparison. In fact, because of the substantially
more efficient use of mass storage in the DEC MSCP, I expected that the PC's
would be I/O bound to their single hard drive, while the uVAX with a drive
pair could operate much faster. There's quite a difference between what
they can do and what they will do, I guess.


----- Original Message -----
From: allisonp <allisonp_at_world.std.com>
To: <classiccmp_at_classiccmp.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 09, 2000 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: !Re: Nuke Redmond!

> >Since that seems to be the almost the only aspect that matters these
> >days, then maybe that one of the reasons why DEC did not succeed.
> Their lack of direct marketing via radio and TV was a handicap. However,
> KO felt the product being marketed was a technical one for professionals
> and not directed at hobbiests.
> >As you, and many others have stated, DEC had a better mouse
> >trap. It almost always worked. The cheese was delicious and
> >rarely ran out. But the other reason for the failure of DEC was that
> >the DEC mouse trap was so much more expensive to buy that few
> >households could afford to buy one. Never mind that in the long
> Mostly prose but not completely true. The cost for a Robin, Rainbow
> or PRO was consistant with the time for a competeing system with
> similar hardware, software and quality. Of course that was the early 80s.
> Reality was much more complex than the story of mice and traps.
> DEC suffered from a complex product, limited marketing and a vision
> that was right for the industry as it was (60s, 70s and early 80s) and
> not was it is (for 1987 on). As a result DEC was holding facilities
> like PNO, WFO and others complete with trained personell and
> nothing for them to do quite literally. At the same time engineering
> and marketing groups were sending things overseas for cost reasons.
> It didn't take a brain surgeon to see that overhead was way out of line
> as there were no layoffs until Palmer appeared. Also over the years
> there were what I called "stupid product decisions".
> My favorite is the LA75, $700 printer that TEC sold for $350 at local
> stores. Sure DEC improved it, but it was costly. Other were monsters
> like the VAX9000, fast, powerful and expensive. It was quickly replaced
> by the cheaper 6000 series. Older projects like the PRO, sold maybe
> 40,000 units against a plan that was only scaled for 30,000! If that
> sounds bad it was declared a failure. Exceeded plan and failed! An
> example of short sightedness as to the size of the market. Other
> examples are infamous. I got the dubious honor of participating in
> just a few.
> DEC was a engineering, a technology and service company. They did
> not do a good job at marketing. It was mismanagemant of costs would
> end a good run.
> I used to remind people and they thought me nuts. If you want to annoy
> the customer ship junk. If you really want to become unforgetable in the
> customers eyes, go out of business. The former they can forgive if you
> fix it, the latter is unforgiveable as your product is part of their
> business.
> DEC came close to unforgiveable, save for Compaq being there.
> Allison
Received on Sun Apr 09 2000 - 13:54:08 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:40 BST