Ghosts of Computer Companies Past

With the announcement of Oracle to buy Sun MicroSystems, I started to think about all the computer companies that where powerhouses back in the day and unless you’ve been around for a while, you might have only heard about them in an “introduction to computers” class where they take you back to the beginning of personal computer boom.

It’s still unsure the fate of the Sun brand name. I would image it will stay around but the essence of what Sun stood for and its origins will soon be lost, just like companies like Compaq, Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), AST, Commodore, Wang, WordPerfect, Ashton-Tate, MicroGrafx, Harvard Graphics, and so on. I can imagine that soon Robert X. Cringley or the History Channel will document sometime in the future.

I use to help out a local users group called PIBMUG (Pasadena IBM Users Group) and it was always interesting to see companies go head-to-head to see Lotus 1-2-3 v. Excel v. Quattro Pro, or WordStar v. WordPerfect v. AmiPro v. Microsoft Word. Even see little guys like Norton Utilities go up against Central Point Software PC Tools. A lot of that head-to-head type of competition is now gone because computers and personal productivity software has become such a commodity, a lot of what people use the computer for is enhance their “digital lifestyle” and it’s become chic to be a gadget geek.

The purchase of Sun by Oracle isn’t completely over yet. The shareholders still have to agree to it, but I would be surprised if they decline. With that said, Sun Microsystems, it was nice to know you, and you’re not truly dead as long as people remember you.


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