Silver lining in DEET debate

I refer to your letter "Couldn't give two hoots" (March 6, page 6). We went through this in South Australia in 1997 (Decstech 2001 education deal) so I feel for Peter Janssen in country Victoria.

I got myself on the radio and in print complaining about the exclusion of country computer retailers and was somewhat bemused by the SA Government's response, which was basically "it's for the good of the state". We lost 20 per cent of our business overnight as we were a strong school supplier.

However, I will say that even though we missed out on the big deals, what we found was that parents were suddenly on the back foot at home because the schools had the latest and greatest machines running the latest software. Before 1997, most households had computers that were superior to the schools, since then parents have been playing catch-up. So there will be a lot of spinoff business throughout Victoria as the new systems go into schools. Value-added computer retailers will survive; box movers who specialise in schools will be in trouble.

Now that the Decstech 2001 deal is finished (it was a five-year program), we are seeing a big increase in the level of business we are doing in schools again. Five years was a bit long to wait, though.

Perhaps Peter Janssen could just rest comfortably in the knowledge that Acer was prepared to bend over further (forwards) than anyone else!

Greg Williams,Lincoln Computer Centre South Australia.

BEA claim riles locals

After reading ARN's article "BEA pursues Java's Holy Grail" (March 6, page 29), your readers may be interested to know that a Visual Basic-like development environment for Java is not a new concept.

Over 12,000 users of inteRAD's build-IT found a product that fills this requirement long ago. For almost two years, inteRAD, a Queensland developer, has been seducing Java developers seeking high productivity and programmers who find Java and other integrated development environments (IDEs) difficult to use.

BEA and most other larger developers are really dragging the chain when it comes to releasing advanced and innovative development environments. It isn't unusual for smaller companies to demonstrate far better innovation capabilities. Unfortunately, those companies often struggle for market recognition because the big advertising dollars and customer confidence in a company's technical support resources is what drives choice, not the quality of the product or the benefit it offers.

Put simply, customers bombarded with media coverage of the activities of the majors don't hear enough about the smaller innovators and their advanced product offerings to be able to assess product quality and benefits correctly. Yet, it is a well-recognised fact that big companies rarely innovate - their company structure doesn't allow real innovation. They either buy from innovators or they copy.

BEA would be very smart to buy inteRAD technology rather than waste valuable resources on a copycat exercise.

Lorraine CobcroftinteRAD Technology Queensland.

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