business

Putting A Finger On Digital's Woes

I applaud your cover story because it highlights downsizing as simply the latest in a long line of failed, simplistic panaceas.

At the same time, in your article "Desperate hours at DEC" (Top of the News, May 9), I decry Gary McWilliams' drubbing of Robert B. Palmer, when Digital Equipment Corp.'s woes are real ly the result of its board of directors placing the blame first on Ken Olsen and lately on Bob Palmer, instead of seeing to it that problems facing the company were first defined--and then fixed.

Rowland Brandwein

Nashua, N.H.

Both your articles excited my hopes for a unique insight, but I was sorry to find that you missed the chance.

Your story on Digital mentions in passing that the workforce numbered 118,000 in 1991 and that the company now employs 92,000 Digits. Unfortunately, the article does not even acknowledge this major downsizing effort, nor does it discuss how this failed to avert, or perhaps exacerbated, the "crisis at Digital."

The insight that I had been hoping you would discover is that downsizing, while it is sometimes an unavoidable necessity in the face of technological evolution, is by no means a cure-all for strategic blunders. Let the protracted crisis at Digital Equipment be a cautionary example.

Bruce McCulley

Troy, N.H.

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