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I have to go!

In 1990, 3Com laid off a sizable number of employees as a result of exiting the 3+Open partnership with Microsoft. 3Com worked hard to manage this unfortunate situation, and as time passed, it was able to hire back some of the people it had let go.

As legend has it, when one of the laid-off engineers got that fateful call from 3Com, he told his new manager, “My company has called me back. I have to go.” For many people, 3Com would remain “my company” even after they had parted ways.

We are currently collecting stories like this that we might offer as bonus material for those who pre-order the book. If you have a fond memory of 3Com that you'd like us to include, please email us at


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3Com does everything in 3’s of course – they announced their 3 part plan to exit work group related products, consisting of network operating systems, 3Servers and stations, and SNA (Systems Network Architecture Products) in January 1991. 12% of their 1,935 person work force was laid off.

When business picked up, some loyal 3Comer’s returned to the mother ship. Mark Cuban (yep, the same one in Dallas) was running his own company MicroSolutions Inc., a Dallas based systems integrator and LAN reseller, noted at the time “It’s funny that 3Com has been known for its weakest link - network operating software. The saying goes that you are only as strong as your weakest link, and now 3Com is getting rid…

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