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There's no turning back now

Every few years our industry hits a turning point - things change and will never be the same again. They are usually pretty...

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Every few years our industry hits a turning point - things change and will never be the same again. They are usually pretty obvious in retrospect but not when they are beginning to happen.

John Riley

Groundswell

Looking under the smokescreen of dotcom activity in 2000 we can see the beginnings of a major sea change for the IT supply establishment, with a maturing desire for some kind of open source.

Many senior users are frustrated by the arrogant and petulant public outbursts from the likes of Gates, Ellison and McNealy. They want assured integration, not future disintegration, for their mixed systems. And they're looking harder for alternatives.

Microsoft's recent dip in profits, and the subsequent judder through Nasdaq, could be a one-off. But Microsoft, whose employees get lowish salaries but excellent stock options, faces implosion if that trend continues.

Sun's apogee could have been its summer extravaganza in Hawaii for thousands of its sales staff, with Elton John shipped out at huge expense. Fine for internal morale but shame about the image. As a Times 100 IT director said to me, "I helped pay for that!" Sun should have sobered up with Telia's recent decision to replace Sun servers with IBM 390 mainframes running Linux - a back-to-the-future inflection if ever there was one.

This was first published in January 2001

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