A Legend in Computers Suddenly Takes Retirement
By John Markoff
The New York Times
July 19, 1992
The future of the company that created the minicomputer industry during the 1970's looked even more uncertain last week as its founder unexpectedly announced his retirement.
Kenneth H. Olsen, an M.I.T. Lincoln Labs engineer, had started Digital Equipment Corporation, the nation's second largest computer maker, 35 years ago.
His departure came as the company had been struggling for a comeback after losing its momentum in the late 1980's.
The Maynard, Mass., computer maker rose to prominence for its Vax line of minicomputers, but in recent years speedier computer chips made by competitors have taken over the fast-growing computer work station market.
Digital's best hope is its own new chip, named Alpha, around which it plans to introduce a family of computers later this year. The Alpha technology has gotten positive reviews from many computer engineers, and it could put Digital back in the chase.
To make Alpha more popular, Digital has entered an alliance with Microsoft, the software publisher. It plans to use Microsoft's new NT operating system with Alpha to create a new class of machines for large corporations hoping to get rid of cumbersome and expensive mainframes and replace them with networks of speedier microprocessor-based machines.
Copyright 1992 The New York Times Company