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Le Misancalculation: A one act Itanium tragedy by IDC

Deus ex muckupina

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Scene I. The Itanic Oracle

IDC analyst Pat has spent hours climbing Mount Mass and has just entered the cave that houses the Oracle at Framingham. With sweat dripping from his every pore, Pat approaches the Oracle's altar. He displays a stern yet hopeful countenance.

Pat: Great, great Oracle of Framingham, I have come seeking advice and wisdom. Your knowledge surpasses that of all others. Excepting, of course, the occasional prophet from Gartneredon. But we generally ignore those prophets and focus instead on your insight and fruitful spirit.

Oracle: I AM GREAT. AND ALMIGHTY. YOU CAN TELL THE PROPHETS OF GARTNEREDON TO FU . . .

Pat: Yes, yes, you are great, dear Oracle. And I'm desperate to ask for your advice on a pressing matter.

Oracle: SPEAK!

Pat: Well, the giants of Hurdor and Inteletron have requested a new sales forecast for the product known as Itanium. They're really quite concerned about this product. They say it's urgent that we tell them how it will do not only this year but far, far into the future.

Oracle: I SEE.

Pat. And, well, the thing is that we haven't been all that, um, accurate about predicting Itanium's fortunes in the past. You know, there was that whole thing where we guessed 2004 sales of Itanium would reach $28bn.

Oracle: THEY DID NOT?

Pat: Er, no. They ended up at $1.4bn, so we kind missed the mark on that one by $26.6bn - give or take a shipment. Which is actually a bit funny because our calculation did a real job on those freaks in Sgitan View. Word is they might not make it through the end of the year.

Oracle. HA HA!

Pat: Jokes aside, our butt is really on the line this time around. We've recalculated our Itanium forecasts about seven times and been wrong - really wrong - every time. It would be awful to make such a horrendous prediction again. We are analysts and all.

Oracle: DID YOU NOT VISIT ME THE LAST TIMES?

Pat: No. We used modeling.

Oracle: SERVES YOU RIGHT.

Pat: Yep. Well, so, do you think you can help?

Oracle: THE ORACLE OF FRAMINGHAM CAN ALWAYS HELP! GIVE ME A MOMENT.

A giant Magic 8 Ball appears in the center of the cave. A green, pulsating glow surrounds the ball. Then, after just ten seconds, the ball displays an answer..

Oracle: ASK AGAIN. . . . CRAP. HANG ON.

The ball starts pulsating again. Huge numbers spin across the screen. Several minutes pass this time.

Pat: Whenever you're ready. We do have some bills to pay with this report.

Oracle: PATIENCE, MINION.

After a couple more pulses and a few whirs and gurgles, the ball comes to a rest and displays the answer.

Oracle: TOTAL ITANIUM SERVER SALES WILL REACH $6.6bn in 2009.

Pat: Jeez, man. Are you sure? That seems kinda low. We're not even close to the $28bn mark, and that was supposed to be in 2004!

Oracle: THE ORACLE HAS SPOKEN!

Pat: Seriously though, man. I don't know how Hurdor and Inteletron are going to take that. They got all these friends together who agreed to spend like $10bn on Itanium over the next few years. They'll hardly be recouping any of that investment. And did I mention how silly we'll look through all this? Are you sure there isn't a $16bn or $18.5 in there? Can you give that ball another shake?

Oracle: BE GONE!

While we're not sure if that's how IDC came up with its latest Itanic sales forecast, we think it's a decent guess.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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