SGI: I saw the hubris and the damage done

 That's a scene from "Jurassic Park," one of so many movies made on SGI big iron.But the real dinosaurs are gone.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor

That's a scene from "Jurassic Park," one of so many movies made on SGI big iron.

But the real dinosaurs are gone. SGI may be headed that way as well. 

As we have already noted, SGI filed for Chapter 11 restructuring today.

This comes on the heels of the once-proud digital movie-effects hardware and software provider's stock being delisted last year.

I remember a different SGI, though. Circa 1990, when I started attending television industry tech conventions for a publication I was working for, the SGI apps were the ooh-ah. This at the same time that I was using an Intel 486 at home.

Three years passed. I remember asking an SGI exec in 1993 if the company was worried that networked PCs, Macs, and mini workstations would eventually become powerful enough to handle some of the coolness SGI was known for at the time.

I got a reply something along the lines of "hey, we are the industry leaders and everyone knows it, and these little boxes you are asking about are toys that will never even approach what our iron, our utilities, are able to do."

But then SGI refused to be nimble, refused to be quick. Instead, they were living on corporate ego and hubris. They had the opportunity to sell out, becoming a division of a bigger company. Or, they could have sold some of their assets off piecemeal, spinning off the parts of the company that were still viable.

But no, they didn't. When the smaller iron started to catch up, SGI thrashed about for seven or eight years, trying to find their place in the high-end server space. But they never developed durative momentum, which is too bad.

I happen to think there are parts of SGI worth saving, and extremely talented people who are still there. Sad, though, that unless things improve, those parts might go at fire sale prices. 

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