thirteenThe Beginning of the End


DEC’s end did not come with either a bang or a whimper. Rather, it was a long drawn-out process consisting of several years of success mixed with occasional crises, recognition in the late 1980s that a new way of managing had to be found, intense efforts to market new products, networking and systems integration through large fairs, finally the acceptance of open standards and commodities, recognition of the need to downsize, two painful years of nonprofitability (1991 and 1992), and Ken Olsen’s resignation in late 1992.

The board promoted Bob Palmer, vice president of semiconductors, who then spent six years trying to bring DEC back to profitability by selling off some units, ...

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