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Forbes Lauds Zander, Criticizes DeCamillo

The January 22 issue of Forbes contains two substantial articles about Rensselaer alumni. Ed Zander '68 is pictured on the cover of the print issue. He is President and COO of Sun Microsystems, one of the largest computer hardware manufacturers in the world. Zander is a major character in the Forbes cover story, along with Scott McNealy (who is more well known) and several other Sun senior executives.

As Daniel Lyons of Forbes writes in the article, "{Sun} went from a maker of workstations for engineers in the
Eighties to a producer of Unix servers for business in the Nineties to a
purveyor of Web engines and software for the next decade." He quotes Ed Zander as saying, "We have this uncanny ability to seize disruptive technologies and just go maniacal on execution."

Unfortunately, Gary DiCamillo '73 is severely criticized in an article in the same issue. As Michael K. Oznian writes in an article called Out of Focus, "Since coming over
from Black & Decker in November 1995, where he was running the company's
power tool division, DiCamillo, now 50, has started each year by talking about how
Polaroid is poised for growth. But time and time again he has come up short.... How did things get so bad? No question, these are tough times for the entire
industry as digital imaging takes over from film. Huge capital expenses are required
to make the switch, and digital products have much lower net margins than film."

The Polaroid article is probably fair in its assessment of the situation. Digital technology will reshape many industries, and the performance of the common stocks of companies like Polaroid and Xerox are excellent examples. DiCamillo comes in for criticism because his name is on the door to the biggest office. The article does not articulate an alternative course of action that would put Polaroid in a better position at the moment.

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