Dec at Home (was: Re: !Re: Nuke Redmond!

From: John Wilson <>
Date: Sun Apr 9 15:43:40 2000

On Sun, Apr 09, 2000 at 09:26:44AM -0700, Bruce Lane wrote:
> Judging by the number of Rainbows I once saw at one of the Bay Area swap
> meets, and subsequent ones I've seen in various surplus stores, I'd say
> yes, quite a few must have been sold.

But, were the original owners private individuals? This is definitely a
good question, in the early 80s the DEC micros weren't all *that* much more
expensive than other comparable machines, there certainly must have been
people who could have afforded them if they wanted to. Of course at that
time the typical micro user was willing to make do with cassettes, stringy
floppies, modified Selectrics etc. just to keep the cost as low as possible.

DEC ended up dumping some of their early micros on their own employees.
The used market was flooded with VT180s and PDT-11/150s for a while there,
as a result. But presumably the employees got special pricing, so it's
probably not fair to count them as real live sales to private individuals,
since they had special incentives.

I remember a while back, someone telling of their experience buying a PDP-8
(/I? /E?) brand new from DEC in the early 70s, for home use. Evidently they
had the means, so you'd think DEC would be happy to just fill their order like
anyone else's, but apparently they somehow felt that individuals should not
be allowed to buy minicomputers so it was a big deal. I get the impression
DEC felt the same way about their early micros, not that they would have
stopped individuals from buying them but that possibility clearly didn't
figure into DEC's marketing. Yet another example of DEC shooting itself
in the foot because of a preconceived notion of what business they were
in, unlike other companies which are glad to be in whatever business the
customers want them to be in. I love stories like Phar Lap, where they
make it big on something which was intended only as an accessory for the
"real" product, but luckily they kept their yaps shut when the customers
fixated on the "wrong" product and raked in the cash anyway.

John Wilson
D Bit
Received on Sun Apr 09 2000 - 15:43:40 BST

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