Apple’s new board member and Virginia’s $2.4 billion Microsoft-powered nightmare

“Ronald D. Sugar, who was named to Apple’s board of directors Wednesday, was chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman in 2005 when the Los Angeles-based aerospace giant beat out IBM (IBM) in a bid to rebuild the state of Virginia’s computer infrastructure from top to bottom,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“The contract — now valued at $2.4 billion, the largest in the state’s history — covered everything: mainframes, servers, desktops, laptops, voice and data networks, operating systems, e-mail, security, help desk and data center facilities,” P.E.D. reports. “For the people of Virginia, it’s been a nightmare, plagued with cost overruns, missed deadlines, security breaches and balky service.”

“The system, according to Marcella Williamson, a spokesperson for the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, is standardized on Hewlett-Packard hardware and Microsoft software. ‘We use the entire Microsoft stack,’ she told Fortune. ‘Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Office, SQL servers and .Net for development,” P.E.D. reports. “The big crash….hit last August, nearly nine months after Sugar’s retirement, when a data storage unit in Richmond warehouse failed and 26 of Virginia’s 89 departments lost computer service for as much as eight days. It was the worst computer disaster in the state’s history.”

P.E.D. reports, “They aren’t Apple computers,’ she says. ‘I can tell you that.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We could have told you they weren’t Apple computers, or even Macs, without having to ask. Virginia’s computer systems would work if they used quality hardware and software.

Hopefully, Sugar is bringing something of value to Apple’s BoD. God knows there’s some dead weight sitting there already – we won’t even get into the case of the finally eradicated mole.

31 Comments

  1. “Northrop Grumman in 2005 when the Los Angeles-based aerospace giant beat out IBM (IBM) in a bid to rebuild the state of Virginia’s computer infrastructure from top to bottom,”

    Northrop Grumman builds computer infrastructure from top to bottom? I thought they worked in defense and built carriers and planes. Wow! Interesting to learn something new today.

    Oh, and being from Virginia… FIGURES! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”angry” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “Northrop Grumman in 2005 when the Los Angeles-based aerospace giant beat out IBM (IBM) in a bid to rebuild the state of Virginia’s computer infrastructure from top to bottom,”

    Northrop Grumman builds computer infrastructure from top to bottom? I thought they worked in defense and built carriers and planes. Wow! Interesting to learn something new today.

    Oh, and being from Virginia… FIGURES! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”angry” style=”border:0;” />

  3. @Ask The USPTO – True. The MS software is fully capable (capable = can do, not easy to use) of handling the state’s needs; it’s the implementor that’s the problem. Mac or PC, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you fail.

  4. Cheezus Kriste…

    Apple appoints a total failure to Apple’s BoD??

    Ah well, I guess it’s not the first time it’s happened.

    I mean, it was, after all, Steve’s idea to bring John Sculley on board. Just look at how well that turned out…

    MaWo: ‘decisions’. As in, ‘Steve’s aren’t always the best re: personnel at Apple.’

  5. It doesn’t matter what mistakes we’ve made in our past. What matters is that we’ve learned from them and don’t keep making the same ones over and over.

    @fandango – Just because he was CEO of a company that failed on a project doesn’t mean he was involved in the cause of that failure or will make the same decisions that led to that failure. Yes, the CEO is ultimately responsible, but clearly Apple sees value in his experience and leadership ability.

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