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The Good News From Silicon Graphics


Readers Report

THE GOOD NEWS FROM SILICON GRAPHICS

It is ironic that "The sad saga of Silicon Graphics" (Cover Story, August 4) hit the stands the day after the company announced the best quarter in its history: well over $1 billion in revenue and strong profitability.

Most of the story missed the point of where Silicon Graphics is today. Yes, Silicon Graphics has had problems over the past couple of years. We recognized those problems, accepted responsibility, and our management team has been working hard to address them. Very strong actions have been taken, and we are beginning to see the results, as evidenced by our outstanding fourth quarter.

We are very optimistic about this coming year and beyond. This quarter was a reflection of the new Silicon Graphics' ability to execute. Our product transition is complete. We are shipping our entire product line without significant constraints--and most importantly, the new products are finding strong acceptance with our customers. Our entire organization is aligned to build on this success as we enter the new fiscal year.

Never underestimate the creativity and determination of the employees and loyal customers of Silicon Graphics. There is nothing more satisfying to us than to prove the remaining skeptics wrong.

Gary L. Lauer

Executive Vice-President

Silicon Graphics Inc.

Mountain View, Calif.Return to top

A TIGHTROPE CALLED THE NEW ECONOMY

James C. Cooper's prudent warning about inflation is well taken ("In the New Economy, the old rules still live," News: Analysis & Commentary, July 28). We risk serious trouble if, in boom times, we dismiss the potential threat of an inflated dollar. But for the foreseeable future, inflation is dead. Companies are keeping prices low because of the realities of increased domestic and international competition, a trend that increased demand in a high-employment economy is unlikely to change.

Furthermore, workers' compensation is no longer just hourly wages. It can also include ownership of stock, medical and retirement benefits, and pay-for-performance plans. This means that the increased outflow of cash to workers is steady but not burdensome, thus enabling corporations to avoid many of the liquidity problems of the past.

I am as reluctant to be an unguarded optimist as I am to be a Cassandra. The new economy merits confidence as much as it demands caution. An undue lurch in either direction could cause the very thing we should most strenuously avoid, the cruelest tax of all: inflation.

Jerry J. Jasinowski

President

National Association of Manufacturers

WashingtonReturn to top

COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS SEEK WORK--AND RESPECT

Neither I nor any of my colleagues who have been through massive corporate downsizings would agree that the labor market for software professionals even remotely resembles that described in your article ("Forget the huddled masses: Send nerds," Information Processing, July 21). Spot shortages of programmers with skills in rapidly expanding fields, such as Java programming, do occur. However, the requirements for these job openings are quite specific. The "critical shortage of programmers" described in the article is more an indication of the lengths to which companies will go to avoid the costs associated with training workers.

James Bonang

Los Angeles

Why is it deemed editorially correct at BUSINESS WEEK to use liberally such negative stereotypes as "nerd" and "geek" when referring to computer programmers? According to Webster's, a nerd is "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits." And a geek is "a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of."

If you bothered to do some investigation, you would find that, lo and behold, there are actually some technical people who aren't socially inept or disapproved of!

Chris Toomey

Sunnyvale, Calif.Return to top


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