Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP
Sorry for the bad quote, that is what happens when you post text as one
very long line.
While in hindsight, TCPIP won, at the time, DECNET was the world's
largest network. The big problem is that DEC wouldn't opensource
protocols like DECNET and LAT. So the industry went with open sourced
VMS could have replaced DOS/Windows because it had superior GUI products
than Microsoft in the early days of Windows. But Olsen refused to go
into the PC business with VAX/VMS since that would have cannabalised
sales of much more profitable systems.
For species, evolution happens at a very slow pace. A large quick
event/change like a rock falling on earth can make changes that are to
quick for species to evolve, so those that are ok with the change
survive, those who aren't ok with it become extinct.
For corporations, it all depends on leadership. Some corporations are
able to adapt quickly, others not. The comparision between IBM and DEC
in the 1990s is compelling: Lou Gerstner was able to get IBM back to
health from the brink of declaring chapter 11. Bob Palmer didn't know
how to do that, so he did the textbook stuff like announce layoff every
quarter, shuffle execs around and cut products.
So yes, DEC was in many ways like a dinosaur. It was incompatible with
the new business environment and unable to adapt quickly enough so it
became extinct like dinausaurs.
However, it doesn't mean that it had no chance. A good leadership would
have made DEC change and adapt.