Bad News Can Be Good News

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2001-01-29

Youve been reading a lot of "bad" technology news lately. In the last month, our front page has included stories on the dot-com and B2B busts, the PC sales slowdown, perpetually unsafe networks, Lotus losing more of its independence to IBM, Computer Associates ASP plans stuck on the ground, and ever-more-failing service providers. I could go on.

Its not surprising that I get a lot of e-mail complaining about eWeeks coverage being so negative. I dont have good news to tell you here, either, other than to say that sometimes bad news can be good for you.

Simply put, delivering bad news is part of our job, as it is part of any journalists job. Not that we take any particular pleasure in ferreting it out or delivering it, although I know some journalists who do. And we dont decide to pick on certain companies out of spite.

But if we didnt dig up the negative, we wouldnt be doing our readers a service. No one else will tell you about the failures, missed product deadlines, faulty products and internal corporate upheavals. And you dont want to hear it from your software sales rep when you are about to spend millions on an enterprise deployment of his or her product. You want to hear about it before its too late, before you invest the money from your shrinking IT budgets.

This is important now more than ever, as technology failures are occurring at an unprecedented rate. Indeed, its also part of our job to tell you what the failures mean, not just of one company, but of how one companys failure affects the whole technology supply chain of which it is a part. Youll need to know which of those companies to avoid.

Of course, we try to cover "happy" news, too, but what good is that? You can get that from any vendors Web site, where everything is always sunshine and roses. So why tell you something you already know? Its not so awful to take the path less positive. Sometimes a little bad news can save you a lot of money.

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