IBM's huge second-quarter loss wasn't the only red ink spilled lately by the depressed computer industry. Tandem Computers posted a $550 million loss for its third quarter, thanks to a massive restructuring that will slash some 15% of Tandem's work force. But Digital Equipment proved a surprise. The minicomputer maker reported operating profits of $120 million for the quarter ended July 2, a function of hard-nosed cost-cutting and a strong performance from DEC's sales team.
A lot of the credit goes to the new guy in sales: Edward Lucente, late of Northern Telecom. Lucente has pushed for greater autonomy for his organization and is moving DEC into new distribution channels, including retail. It's not yet a turnaround, but it's better than DEC investors are used to.