There can't really be much of a surprise here - the once-proud technology leader has seen its stock plummet, its profits go down the drain, and has fired a substantial part of its work force. So nobody in the tech sector was taken aback by this morning's announcement. The Chapter 11 announcement will probably not have any immediate effect on the Chippewa Falls facility, but no plans have yet been announced.

As with most of these Chapter 11 arrangements, there will probably be no big change at SGI immediately, other than continued belt-tightening. Personally, I don't really see a good way for SGI to get out of this. They make very sweet boxes, but it has become very difficult for any manufacturer to distinguish themselves in a market where computers are more and more seen as a commodity item. SGI has for some time now been flopping around in the marketplace, looking like it just can't decide what its business plan really is. In the long run, to many in the industry their new computer systems look like big PC's with fancy graphics. They're really much more technologically interesting than that, but the growing view that one Intel based computer is just like another is really proving difficult for many companies, including Sun Microsystems.

Let's hope for a day when innovation really returns to the computer hardware industry, and when technology planners will again see that there is a purpose to having a diverse range of hardware and software available. This will leave a lot more room for small companies to produce innovative products that actually matter in the industry.