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Don't Dis 3 M's Plan To Rev Up Growth

Readers Report

Don't Dis 3M's Plan to Rev Up Growth

"3M: The heat is on the boss" (Management, Mar. 15) represents a triumph of anonymous gossip and fabrication over the factual, balanced, and well-researched reporting we expect of BUSINESS WEEK. The leadership of 3M is fully aware that our performance has not met our expectations, and it has taken action to regain growth momentum. A good example is the action plan announced last July. I personally participated in the decision-making process which led to that announcement. I can report--on the record--that the plan had the unanimous consent of the senior-management team.

In an interview with BUSINESS WEEK in late February, 3M CEO Livio D. DeSimone spoke at length about investment in new technology platforms and new products. None of his comments on the topic is included in the story.

Instead, we hear from anonymous sources about his alleged "failure to fund important products for future growth." In fact, 3M invests more than $1 billion annually in R&D and generated more than 30% of its sales from products new in the last four years.

I am aware that BUSINESS WEEK has a policy of correcting "errors of fact." To us, the more relevant issue is how you correct errors of fiction.

J. Marc Adam


Marketing & Public Affairs


St. Paul, Minn.Return to top

EMC Has Some Other Hungry Rivals

"The rivals looking to eat EMC's lunch" (Cover Story, Mar. 15) proves that one man can make a difference. However, as impressed as I am with Michael C. Ruettgers' uncompromising leadership and his sales team's effectiveness, I suspect that EMC has an engineering department at least partially responsible for its success. A "can-do" attitude will take you only so far.

Also, I wonder why you failed to include Data General Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. in your list of companies expected to challenge EMC in the future. Both sell leading-edge data-storage technology directly to end users and through the sales organizations of muscular OEM partners such as Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Add Sun Microsystems Inc. and Compaq Computer Corp. to the competitive mix, and one has to wonder if Ruettgers appreciates what he's up against. Squaring off against this level of competition will make him realize how easy it has been to compete against IBM.

John McPhail

Winchester, Mass.

Congratulations for hitting the story on the mark. I remember Ruettgers joining EMC in 1988, just a few months after I started with the company as one of their newest sales recruits right out of college. That nExt year, as EMC swung violently from being a great startup To almost collapsing to literally being resurrected from the ashes, was one of the most intense of my career.

Ruettgers has done an incredible job, but let's not forget Dick Egan and Roger Marino, the EMC founders who built up and gave Mike the most valuable tool any new leader can ask for: corporate culture. I have never seen or worked for another firm that had inculcated such an aggressive, do-what-it-takes-to-win culture as what Dick and Roger created. In the ensuing decade, Ruettgers has figured out how to mature that gem, yet still keep the $5 billion giant instilled with one of the most aggressive attitudes in the industry.

Ross B. Garber


Vignette Corp.

Austin, Tex.Return to top

Net Lovers Want More Speed

As any serious Net user can tell you, you soon reach a point where you have to have a dedicated phone line ("Can Road Runner get up to speed?" Media, Mar. 15). Waiting for your significant other to get off the phone with Mom so you can check E-mail or do some stock-market research--and then monopolize the line for hours--is not an option if you value domestic tranquility.

The cost of a dedicated phone line plus the Internet service provider fee comes very close to the $40-a-month flat fee that cable-modem services charge. To anyone who uses the Internet, the $5 or $10 per month difference is well below the radar, and getting an "always on" blazingly fast connection in exchange is a deal we'll take--now.

I'm lucky enough to live in one of the original test-market areas for At Home Corp.'s cable-modem service, and I have been a subscriber since they first dropped their hang tag on my door. But cable-modem service is just not available in large areas of the country. I've just sold my house. I'm moving five miles away, and I'm already shedding tears because I'm going to lose my megabits-per-second connection.

Todd Maddison

SeattleReturn to top

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