Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RIP AltaVista - another part of DEC bites the dust (remember CMGI Field?)

The end of AltaVista by current owner Yahoo pretty much closes the book on the once mighty Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) which was bought by Compaq in 1998.

DEC was a powerhouse in Massachusetts and in the late 80's was the second largest employer after the Commonwealth itself. But like other Massachusetts giants (Polaroid, Wang, Data General) the company had trouble adapting.

DEC's founder Ken Olsen had a fatal vision when he said 

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”

AltaVista was taken over by a DEC spinoff CMGI which was most famous for having the naming rights of the new Patriots stadium in Foxborough but ran out of $$$ before the stadium opened. 

Polaroid died a horrible death when their founder Edwin Land refused to embrace digital images saying film would never be replaced. 20 years ago they had a lock on the ID industry, but it all went away. To compound it, Land spent a fortune on instant motion picture film at the same time consumer video tape was developed in the late 70's.

The DEC credit union lives on, now open to all as does what was really the DEC private airport in Stowe, MA now Minuteman Field.

The Massachusetts Miracle...


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