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RE: What ever happened to... DEC?
Upon hearing that Bob Palmer's severance pay was $6.45M, my wife (Merle)
commented that it was the most expensive vermin removal bill she'd ever
Personal and 2nd hand "GQ Bob" stories:
I was in HL [Hudson, MA semiconductor group; I was working on a simulation
language compiler] when Bob was hired. (In his last job, he had done to
MOSTEK [not MOS Technologies, or is it the other way around?], which was
taken over by United Technologies, what he has just finished doing to DEC.)
He replaced Jeff Kalb, who was a nice guy. Bob hired a bunch of people
from outside and started converting our small conference rooms into 'real'
offices for them. At some HL-wide meeting, somebody asked about that. He
said it was temporary until an expansion was finished. So I asked if that
was a committment to turn them back into conference rooms afterwards, and
got a "no comment" response.
There was some other issue, I forget what, and I didn't get a very good
answer to my question about it from my supervisor, manager, or cost center
manager. So I sent it to Bob. I didn't get any answer back. So,
following the "open door" policy, I sent it up to Jack Smith. Shortly
thereafter I got a call from Bob's secretary (who had been our group's
secretary before Bob arrived) saying that Bob had lost my message and could
I please send another copy. I don't remember what kind of answer I got
back, but at least when he blew me off without a response to the first
copy, I wasn't alone:
A DECie on Bob's staff (who we'll let remain nameless, I guess) noticed
that, when he and Bob passed in the hall, sometimes Bob would greet him and
other times Bob would ignore him. He finally figured it out and did an
experiment. For 2 weeks, every other day, he wore a suit. On the days he
wore a suit, Bob would greet him in the hall. On the other days, Bob would
And I don't recall how much money, at a time they were having to lay people
off, Bob spent having consultants tell us that we should change the color
of the logo and round the dots on the 'i's, but it was a princely sum.
Not KO at all. Not by a parsec.
Anyway, DEC is being disolved. The local paper said yesterday that they
were taking down the digital logo flags and signs in lobbies.
Everyone says that what Compaq wants is the DEC services group, which has
been doing telephone support for Microsoft as more business that by all
reports Microsoft threw at DEC as a sop to keep the peace over Dave Cutler
handing Ozix over to Microsoft, who renamed it Windows/NT. (WNT==VMS++)
And they still own the Alpha architecture and the right to have it
manufactured by Intel in HL for a very favorable cost. And they are doing
the UNIX (OSF/1??) port to Merced for Intel. All of that will help Compaq
with their customer support, maybe with negotiating with Microsoft & Intel
since they now supply both companies as well as are being supplied by both
companies, and in very fast CPU chips for high end servers.
Of course, if Compaq is doing that in order to compete with more of IBM
beyond just the desktop PC business......