Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Death of CIRM Software Firm Only a 'Hiccup'

The California stem cell agency, which faces an enormous task in reviewing a flood of grant applications, is minimizing the impact of the demise of the company that produced the software for evaluating and coordinating the applications.

Reporter Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote that the Arlington Group of McLean, Va., suddenly went "belly up," leaving CIRM in a digital lurch.

But, she also wrote, CIRM President Zach Hall said that CIRM now owns the computer codes behind the Arlington program. Somers continued:
"There was no warning that Arlington was about to go out of business, Hall said. Apparently an investor withdrew his money unexpectedly, causing the company to fold, he said.

"Before that happened, the institute had paid $108,000 to Arlington, Hall said.

"The institute has since contracted with a new company, composed of former Arlington employees, to build the system at a cost equal to what it was to have paid the defunct company, Hall said."
The original eight-year contract called for payment of $233,474 in the first year.

Somers reported:
"'This has been a hiccup for us in terms of time schedule,' Hall said. 'But it's not a major issue.'"
Dale Carlson, spokesman for CIRM, today told the California Stem Cell Report,
"We got the source code, which will be helpful to us going forward. We've got their senior developers ready to work with us. It isn't delaying the review of the grants. It isn't costing us any more money. And we're talking with Arlington's major customers about an ongoing network to support the platform."
Those customers include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

(Editor's note: A slightly earlier version of this item did not include the last two paragraphs.) Sphere: Related Content


  1. Anonymous3:17 PM

    obligatory Linux enthusiasts response:

    Another example of where Open Source software would've succeeded.

  2. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Obligatory response from a real-world software entrepreneur:

    I appreciate the innocence of your comment. Open Source is a great concept about which I have often wondered. Having the source code in Open Source would provide no protection to businesses providing development services and support for the software - against the vagaries of the marketplace. So, I fail to see how Open Source would have succeeded in this case. The question back to you, if you are inclined to back your comment with details, is: how would Open Source have succeeded?