Amazon dumps Alpha 17 years ahead of schedule
Moral: if you're sure of a customer, shut up about it
Amazon switching to HP for its infrastructure is bad news for Compaq and Sun, but has a certain piquancy for The Register. Amazon was of course a big, prestige (but we'd guess not particularly revenue-rich) customer for Alpha back in the days before it was Compaq Alpha.
Back in 1998, on his way to being taken over by Compaq and an early exit, the then Digital CEO Robert Palmer was gigging at an IDC conference in Paris, extolling the virtues of Alpha and - oh yes - the relationship with high profile and happening customer Amazon. Bob said: "Amazon.com's 64 bit Alpha Systems have the scalability to cater for its growth over the next 20 years."
We know a hostage to fortune when we see one, so we scribbled furiously. We said: "So we'll be watching Robert's career until 2017 with interest, and indeed Digital's commitment to Alpha development, or even the company's very existence." ®
But it would appear that Amazon has now saved us having to keep the lidless eye trained for another 17 years. If you don't believe us, the original copy can be found at this quaint 19th Century precursor of The Register.