Re: Alpha remembrance day
- From: JF Mezei <jfmezei.spamnot@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 16:09:57 -0400
What a truly ludicrous point. By the time Palmer came on the scene in
1992 Alpha had been a fully funded project since 1989 and was itself a
followon from PRISM. The decisions to design and build Alpha and the
decisions about what OS platforms it would support and what migration
options would be offered to existing customers had already been made.
The only thing Palmer could have done at that point was cancelled the
It was under Palmer that Digital's software portfolio was severely
reduced and that many products abanmdonned/not ported to Alpha (FMS was
one of them, a decisions later reversed). Rememeber also the dropping of
VAX document/bookreader in favour of some unknown 3rd party, a decisions
that was also rescinded much later after damage had already been done.
It was under Palmer that decisions were made to refuse to use the Hudson
fab to its fullest, reserving production capacity for Alpha should it
ever take off, this, at the same time that Palmer made damned sure Alpha
couldn't grow to compete angainst Intel's 8086.
It was also Palmer that killed one of the biggest profit centres for
DEC: ALL-IN-1. Shortly after they ad announced the porting of ALL-IN-1
to Unix and Windows, Palmer announced that he had struck a deal with
Microsoft to deploy Office everywhere and abandon ALL-IN-1 and all the
messaging infrastructuire that had been so profitable to DEC.
Prior to Palmer, the technical decisions/development of Alpha were made.
Under Palmer, it was the business decisions that were made about Alpha
and it is those that crippled Alpha and killed Digital.
SLATER: I don't think so. Alpha is an outstanding piece of technology.
It is probably superior architecture to the architectures that exist,
but I don't believe the differences are big enough to overcome the fact
that it is very late entering the market.
Ironic statement in hindsight isn't it ? It was in fact extremely early
into the market. But His point still has validity in that the 8086
architecture had already spread its roots.
However, there would have still be chance for Alpha to uproot the 8086
in the 1990s, especially during the hectic "fleet replacement" cycles
for Win95/NT and later the Y2K. But by then, Plamer had already decided
to not allow Alpha to compete at the low end.
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