Arranging the DEC chairs at HP

Arranging the DEC chairs at HP

Summary: every dollar Intel takes out of the Itanium development budget somebody else, i.e. HP, is going to have to put more than one in

TOPICS: Processors
Here's the key paragraph from last week's Forbes report by Chris Kraeuter headed Intel Kicks Off Its Overhaul

Otellini and Bryant didn't indicate which business units would get the most scrutiny, but a likely candidate would be the group working on the company's Itanium chip. Used in high-end servers, the chip continues to garner billions of dollars of investments annually from the company and from partners such as Hewlett-Packard but it hasn't met expectations. Part of the problem is the cumbersome software baggage that comes with the chip.

Hear anybody at HP saying "oops!"? Me neither, but for every dollar Intel takes out of the Itanium development budget somebody else, i.e. HP, is going to have to put more than one in -because contract development always costs more than in-house development if the same people and corporate resources are used for the same purposes.

HP, unlike Sun, took Wall Street's advice: abandoned its proprietary PA-RISC architecture in favor of "industry standards," and laid off most of its intellectual and engineering resources in one cost cutting wave after another.

So how's Wall Street's advice working out for them? Well, the cost cuters are in charge, most of their operations are on life support -and that industry standard thing? well, I guess they're up the market without a CPU.

Sun, meanwhile, doesn't exactly get rave reviews on Wall street, but has its first low power, SMP on a chip, SPARC products on the market and is well positioned to to be one of two surviving players, with IBM/Cell, in the general computing market.

To which all I can say is: "way to go loonivitch" (et al)!

Topic: Processors

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  • Good to agree with you...

    ... about the danger of accepting Wall Street's advice about saving money by eliminating the ability to develop new products for the future.

    And you're also right about the danger of following industry standards. Wall Street will even recommend that products be open sourced in order to lay off in-house staff. Consistent with your observations, open sourcing anything is in reality only a mark of failure and desperation.
    Anton Philidor
    • unhappy to disagree

      "open sourcing anything is in reality only a mark of failure and desperation"

      I don't think so; on the contrary I think it can make a lot of sense as a corporate strategy - especially in terms of the impact on licensing and thus on developer loyalty.
      • One major impact on licensing...

        ... is the reduction in revenues, yes. Developer loyalty will follow on widespread adoption by potential customers. No matter how interesting the operating system, will developers devote the years necessary to create products which have little market?

        As far as the role of failure and desperation is concerned, the model is Netscape. Is even FireFox, all these years later, a consolation?
        The negative significance of releasing products to open source is also a truism, perhaps false, but has truth ever been required for a truism?

        And once you've acknowledged that following industry standards is a limitation, how can open sourcing a product be anything else?

        People who work on open source projects do have some influence over a product's direction. Even their expectations and skills will be in the minds of the software's controllers at the releasing company.

        Following standards, being responsive to open source participants, what's the difference?
        Anton Philidor
        • Netscape was already gutted by then.

          Bad argument there. Netscape was already dead by then. Their implementation of HTML had gone the non-standard route. AOL had basically already contracted to move their browser to IE by then.

          If Netscape hadn't released their code as Open Source, I'd dare say that Linux would be nowhere near as powerful in the server arena as it is now, nor would we be talking about Linux on an everyday Enterprise desktop.

          Netscape open-sourcing Mozilla is a textbook example of how to save something of value from a dying corporate entity.
          • Not following

            Netscape released its source code to gain a new version at less expense. The people working on that source code spent a very long time trying to fix it and improve it, then gave up and started work on what became Gecko.
            The operation succeeded, but the patient died. Faded away while Waiting for Gecko.

            How does this connect with Linux at all?

            And how did anything involving Netscape encourage or discourage the Linux desktop?
            Anton Philidor
        • I feel, I feel, I feel... a blog coming

          This requires a longer answer; so next Tuesday I'll argue that open source in general defeats one of the great restraints on innovation (Not Invented Here Syndrome) while spreading education and building support. i.e. that it's great for leaders, bad for followers.
          • Looking forward to it.

            Not to be mercenary, but please mention money, and increases and decreases thereof. Salaries and jobs are significant to those who receive and hold them.
            Anton Philidor