Readers Respond: Technologys Barriers to Exit

Readers respond to the eWEEK editorial, "Technology's Barriers to Exit."

I liked Scott McNealys column on how companies dont consider the barriers to exit from a technology when they consider entering it (Guest Column, "Technologys Barriers to Exit," Jan. 2).

He correctly said that "technology has the shelf life of a banana," lightheartedly suggesting that this be called McNealys Law. Actually, it should merely be called Moores Corollary because its a direct consequence of Moores Law. This leads to his conclusion: Anyone taking an analytical look at the cost of acquiring any new technology must consider the cost of exit as well as the costs of acquisition and operation.

Mike Moxcey
Computer Specialist
Usda Aphis Wildlife Services
Fort Collins, Colo.

McNealy argues that IT generally lacks an exit strategy and faces huge expense in abandoning outdated technologies. This ignores the perpetual quest IT has had for decades to reduce exposure to vendor lock-in and drive the industry toward commodity-level, standards-based technologies.

Indeed, Sun long ago helped initiate the process by driving the adoption of Unix in the enterprise and reducing the cost of switching between competing Unix vendors.

What Sun failed miserably at was adapting to Linux, open source and the commoditization of the server. IT has driven the adoption of x86 hardware and uses Linux (a technology that started life as a commodity) as the great hardware vendor equalizer. As noted in our white paper, "What CxOs Think About Linux," reducing the cost of switching technology is a key benefit of commodity computing.

Suns half-measures at opening its software inventory show McNealy & Co. do not fully understand how completely the market has changed underneath them or how deftly IBM and others have leveraged this new reality.

Guy Smith
Principal and Founder
Silicon Strategies Marketing


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