Some of his stocks
and why he
picked them....
what October '87
was like...
why he is a true believer in mutual funds

Betting on the Market

Interview with Jim Cramer.

Jim Cramer manages a hedge fund and is a columnist for New York Magazine and the author of "Smart Money."

Q Talk about today's small investors in the market....

Jim Cramer There are two tiers of small investors. There are the people who religiously invest because they've been taught by Fidelity, by Peter Lynch, by the magazines, by historical data that the stock market is the best place to invest. And these are people who, in any other field, we would say, "Well, they're just following the empirical data."

And then there's a whole other tier of people and they're the tier of people who have no rationality, they just chase what's ever hot. And these people have now decided that stock are out of fashion and they're not they tend to be in whoever was a hottest, thereby, make whatever was the hottest the coldest. And that's what we're up against.

Q So all these people who have shoved money into mutual funds are pulling it out?

All the people who shove discretionary income into mutual funds in order to be able to make money, as opposed to invest for retirement or invest in a kind of a historical fashion, in other words, well, for me, I've got a two year-old and a five year-old and at the beginning of each year I don't say, "I don't care." You know, I don't say, "Geez, the market's really bad this year. I'm not going to invest." I invest for them, but if you have discretionary money and you invested for them, now you're more than likely on the margin point now.

Now, take the emerging foreign country melt-down that we have in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil in '94. Those were the people who sold were people who had chased previously good performance in '93. Now we have seen those funds suffer massive redemptions, at times being down as much as 40-50 percent. That, unfortunately, is the paradigm for the emerging growth investors this time, because the guy who was chasing '93's great performance got crushed in '94 is the same guy who was chasing '95's great performance and is now being crushed in '96. So he withdrew.

Q So the guy who jumped into Garret Van Wagoner's fund this past April and May is the guy who's pulling out now?


Q Because he was chasing that 60 percent?

Well, he's just the same guy who in other aspects of his life would be very late to a trend. There are tons of people who are late to trends by nature and adopt a trend after it's no longer in fashion. They exist in mutual funds. They exist in clothes. They exist in cars. They exist in lifestyles.

Q But there's a lot more at stake here?

Well, yes and no. Yes, if they're a big enough pool of capital that they can begin to dent people's confidence in the historical positives and stuff. I mean that's what we're fighting against now.

You have a class of investors and you have a class of speculators. The speculators historically haven't been big enough to cause the investors to doubt the long-term vision of stock. In the last two or three years there's been a form of people's capitalism that has turned a lot of people into thinking that they could be speculators and be as successful as I've been or other traders have been. Those people are very vulnerable. I don't know whether there are enough of them to make it so that the investors get nervous. The guy who every three months commits money to his 401K, I don't know. Maybe he just says, "Well, this is a bad time." That historically had not happened. The second we have not had a wholesale panic of investors. We've had very often wholesale panics of speculators. We're having a wholesale panic of speculators now. The question is, will it bleed into the investor side? I don't know.

Q If the market's so dangerous, why should average people be in it?

I don't think the market is so dangerous. In 1990 we had a full-scale bear market in the financial stocks. You had Citicorp, Chase, Chemical Bank losing 70-80 percent of their value. Okay. That was a sector that was decimated. In 1994 you had foreign country funds decimated, okay. In each case there were speculators betting that Chase had the stock going down, didn't realize the dimension of real estate problems. There were speculators saying that the foreign stocks had the stock going down. They were all wrong. Those classes of assets were dangerous at the time and they became great bargains. What I'm saying is that there are bargains right now, there are stocks right now that if you're shrewd enough, you will be able to buy them at the opening today and I you'll make money in a year from now.

Q But don't you have to be a professional to be that shrewd?

I think that there are changes that have occurred in technology that make is that more people can have the same level of information that I have. My advantage is that I'm very good at interpreting the information. The danger that we have right now are people who get the same information as I do and, therefore, think they'll reach the same conclusions that haven't traded as long, don't have bear claws up and down their backs like I do. I mean I've lost tremendous amounts of money in various markets and I think that that's something that makes you better at my job, not worse. I think a lot of the people who are in now haven't lost tremendous amounts of money yet, don't want to, but will. But they won't lose 'em if they're in companies that are real.

Q Such as?

I think that let's take the case of Phillip Morris. Let's use Phillip Morris because it's big and controversial. It's got a lot of problems from cigarette litigation. I own Phillip Morris. I'm not as big in it now as I was before, because it happened to visit the 80s, it's now at a hundred. It was down 15-20 points and I bought a lot of it. But Phillip Morris is the highest yielding stock in the Dow Jones. Its yield is safe. The dividend is safe. Its earnings are growing terrifically and it's going to get pulled down with the rest of the market in the same way that in 1990, Merck and Bristol-Myers initially got pulled down with the rest of the market when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Six months later Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers were up dramatically. A lot of other things kept going down. Six months from now I believe that the same tiering will occur. They will be very solid financial stocks, like a Phillip Morris, that could be much higher. But those stocks have not caught the fancy of the speculative public. The speculative public is indulged in stocks that I have no confidence in. There's a stock that I am sure of right now, Iomega, that is the third-tier player in a very cyclical market, storage for personal computers. My first-tier players, Sea Gate and Quantum, go down every single day and they're doing fine. The second-tier players are teetering on bankruptcy. Amax Corp., bought by the Koreans last year, this time Connor Peripherals had to be bought by Sea Gate because it was doing so badly. The third-tier players, Iomega, IMP, historically in this era when PC sales are threatened if there's a lot of competition in storage, the third-tier players usually cease to exist in six to eight months. Now the idea that Iomega could be wiped out never entered in the minds of any of the people who are involved in Iomega. Iomega became this year's Bristol-Myers. The problem was that Bristol-Myers was an unbelievably well-managed company with huge earnings, huge assets, great balance sheet, great dividend, and Iomega is a company that just got in the business basically. The balance sheet is fine. The management's never been tested. Alan Shubart, who runs Sea Gate and anybody would tell you he's the best storage manager in the industry, is saying we're in horrendous times. He's seen every up and down. The people who run Iomega haven't seen anything. Hewlett-Packard, which is the foremost computer manufacturing company in the business is getting out of the storage business. They find it to be too competitive. How can Iomega make it? Now I'm picky on Iomega in part because Iomega became an entity that people viewed as a savings bond with an earnings kicker. And it turned out to be no more than just a piece of paper that is split many times. I think that that's indicative of where we're going.

Q Tell me why you think the stock market is sort of the ultimate salvation for the middle class in today's world?

Well, when I speak of the term "the stock market", I'm invariably speaking of good American companies that tended to be not that sharp in the '70s, got sharp in the '80s, and are now unbelievably good in the '90s. There are companies out there in our country who historically have not been able to beat the Germans and the Japanese, who now beat them routinely. These are guys who've been able to handle any of the slow-downs that we're seeing in the current economy, or whether any of the interest rate up and down, Federal Reserve cuts, Federal Reserve hikes -- these things are just not that meaningful longer term to these great American companies. And these great American companies, by virtue of the fact that they are part of the stock market, can go down as a function of the stock market. Compaq, MicroSoft, Intel, they're stocks. So, therefore, when the stock market goes down, there's a good chance that they will go down. And I want to buy them, because historically these have been great engines of enrichment for the middle class, "historically" meaning now for a good ten years. And I think that'll continue in the same way that in a previous generation when were under-retailed, if you had bought Wal-Mart Unlimited, you could have become rich. If you bought Intel, you could have become rich away from your job. I don't think that's changed at all. I think there are a thousand stocks out there that could make you rich, totally independent of what you do for a living. There've been fortunes made in Merck. There have been fortunes made in Pfizer. There will be fortunes again made in Merck and Pfizer.

Then there's another whole class of stocks that were created to be able to meet this demand that's come from the tremendous in-flows of capital. Thousands of companies have been created in the last two or three years. They've not been tested in an economic downturn. Their managements are not as shrewd and Hewlett-Packard. They're not as good as a management of Intel. They haven't seen downturns like the management of Merck. They're untested and they're dangerous and what I'm saying is that if you were to re deploy in this morass of a summer market that we have, in situations that where managements are fabulous, where balance sheets are good, where historically they've been very shareholder sensitive, nothing's changed. These will be fabulous investments and will make millions of more people rich.

I'm a huge believer in mutual funds. I think that mutual funds are the antidote to the kind of speculative craziness. The managers tend to be really good and if they're not good, they're fired. There's accountability in the mutual fund industry. And they've been tremendous engines of wealth for people and they're going to continue to be so. Individual stocks would be also great engines of wealth, but for a lot of people it's just too hard to pick. In the meantime I question who in this country has made the kind of money at their job that they've made in their mutual fund? There are periods where mutual funds won't make any money, but historically no one got a 33 percent raise last year, that I know of, unless they were in an S&P fund. I invest in funds myself even though I run my own fund for my daughters. I have a five year-old and a two year-old and every chance I get that the government allows, I put money in for them in mutual funds. And I don't really look at the price of the mutual funds because I know that 30 years from now they're going to be higher. But I would also say that, capitalism is raging rampant across the world. We're the primary place of capitalism. I believe that stocks like Bristol-Myers, had they existed in the 1800's there would have no Marx, there would have been no communism because what's happened is these stocks have made many millions of people rich. And they're gonna do it again.

Let's take the quintessential American stocks. Let's take Merck and Bristol-Myers. If these companies had existed a hundred years ago and everybody was allowed to be invested in them, then you would have had a sizable class of people worldwide who would have been wealthier. I think that stocks have been this tremendous, tremendous equalizer for people in this country. Guys who can't make a lot of money at their jobs have been able to make a lot of money in the stock market. There are going to be periods when that's not true, but historically it has been true. If you had bought Merck in the 1950s, just bought 10,000 shares of Merck instead of buying US Savings Bonds, you would not ever have to work again for the last ten years! I mean it's that simple. The compound nature of the dividends and capital appreciation of Merck for the last 25 years has just been far better than what Warren Buffet has done. It's been as good as what Bill Gates has done! You know, let's say you had bought Microsoft when it came public, let's say you didn't sell it or didn't flip it like I did when I got my Microsoft, but you just held onto it. Well, you would be a multi-millionaire. That process is not changing. It's dynamic. There is another Microsoft out there right now. I am doing my best to find it. There's another Amgen out there right now. I am doing my best to find it. I will find it before the public finds it. I will get out of it before it's too late. The reason I will do that is because that's what I'm paid to do.

Q Why should middle class people have confidence they can do it, too?

Well, I mean, look, middle class people, they have two options. They can get all the information I do and spend an inordinate amount of their time in their day trying to pick stocks. And I think that's, for a person of leisure, that's perfectly good. I think you'll do as well as most professionals. Most professionals don't beat the market. Let's not over-rate my industry. But if you have time, you can be in good mutual funds that have good records. There are people who've historically beaten the market both in good and bad times. I've historically beat the market in good and bad times. And I will tell you that I will -- if you can't find the next Amgen, I'll find the next Amgen. If you can't find the next McDonald's, I'll find the next McDonald's. But it's vital to be with people who with looking for 'em, because they do exist. They are created. Microsoft was not a mysterious, strange entity. You put your PC on and there's an ad for them. You put your TV on and maybe you get an ad from Proctor & Gamble, maybe you get an ad from McDonald's, maybe you get an ad from Ford, but you put your PC on and there's just this huge ad for Microsoft. This was not a hard concept to come up with. Now if you couldn't come up with it, the mutual funds came up with it. Intel. I mean, you know, every personal computer has Intel inside. Well, you know, that doesn't seem that hard for me to be able to find. Now there are times when everybody recognizes that Intel is great and then maybe Intel get over-done and it comes back down. But, you know, these are companies that in my lifetime have put on 30 and 40 billion dollars of market capital. You know, they couldn't have been a secret.

Q Do you think that over the long term stocks will outperform every other investment known to man?

The party line is that stocks historically have outperformed all other investment plans. I can either decide that this time it's different and that stocks will not outperform, or I can recognize that even in that period of history -- there have been periods where it's been horrendous to buy -- or I can just say, "Okay. I can't time it at all and I'm just going to buy with my eyes closed." And, strangely, this one of the few things in life that the third, the latter, the buy with our eyes closed has actually done better than everybody else. Let me give you a stark example of something that I came up with. If you had bought the ten most active stocks on the New York Stock Exchange Friday before the market crashed in October of '87, and I was trading very actively in October and I mean I, you know, lived through that market -- if you had bought the ten most active stocks the day before, arguably the dumbest day in history to ever buy stocks, you would have been up huge three years later. That, to me, is very telling. What that says is, had you just bought in the ten most active, that's basically saying the ten most popular stocks, if you, name me another class of investment that if had bought the ten most popular ideas of in any particular era that you would be up five-ten-15 years after that moment when the -- when the place has crashed -- it certainly wouldn't have worked with gold. These are not tulips. If you were the last guy to buy tulips in Holland before they crashed, you haven't made a dime! But if you had bought that most active list, you would have made a fortune! It -- doesn't that say that here's an asset class that works over the long term if you can buy it on the dumbest day in history and make a bundle?

Q The whole idea that there are actually more people in the market than the numbers would suggest.

I think the numbers about how much stock people own in this country I think are dramatically understated, and here's why. We typically hear numbers that there are 34 million households that are in stocks in some form. Well, I say that what's occurred is if you have a job in this country, you're in stocks. When I see the employment as strong as it is in this country and the job creation, the 10 million jobs that have been created during these last four years, what it says to me is 10 million new stockholders because if you have a job, it's likely that you have a pension. If you have a pension, it's likely that it's invested in stocks. If it's not invested in stocks, it should be. If you have a 401K plan, it's invested probably somewhat in stocks. The mutual fund industry is as popular in this country as credit cards. The way the credit cards were made in the '80s to be a people's form of capitalism and be able to make it so that you could get a loan that you would have been denied previous, now that's the way stocks are. Historically, stocks have not represented as big an asset class as homes. I think they're passing homes. I think it makes sense that they pass homes. I think the idea that homes are a great investment doesn't make sense to me, because everybody can make homes. I mean homes are very easy to build and buy. But I think that the idea of saving for stocks is a hard thing that people in this country have embraced. I think our savings rate's much higher than Japan at this point. I think our savings rate's much higher than Europe. I think our savings rate's probably a highest in the country, but it's understated by these figures.

Q Because savings rate doesn't included mutual funds and investment?

Savings rate doesn't include pension. What I mean is-- savings rate has still kind of caught up with what's in your passbook it doesn't really take into account the vast billions that have been created during this period and the vast billions that are being put in all the time. Our country obviously has a surfeit of capital, which is why so many companies were able to come public during this period. But I think that the public is in and the public is in big, and the public is not, I don't think going to pull out because the public knows what I said about 1987. If you had bought in '87, which was the worst time in my life to buy, you came out great. Maybe this year - maybe 1996 is going to be the worst -- the second worst year of my life or it will turn out to be another good opportunity.

Q What was October '87 like for you, the day and that week?

Well, fortunately, one of the reasons why I'm here, one of the reasons I have my own firm was that I was in cash for the crash. I had sold everything the Friday before at some really horrible prices and I came in on Monday morning -- I actually had predicted to people that I thought that we could be down, that we would crash that Monday, and I was liquid. And it distinguished me as being somebody who had a cooler head, but I was able to pick up tremendous bargains. I had nothing in the market then.

Q Talk about the meritocratic nature of mutual funds.

The mutual fund industry is an amazing industry. I think it's both a brilliant predictor of what technologies are going to work. Our mutual fund industry has funded this trumping of Japan and Germany. People don't think of it like that, but that's the only way to look at it. The mutual fund industry provided the money for Intel and Motorola and Hewlett-Packard to crush the competitors. The mutual fund industry has been an absolutely terrific barometer of where money should go much better than any government program, much better, it turned out, than MITI in Japan. And the reason why it's been so right is because while it may not be accountable in the sense that we think of, that people aren't elected to be the president of mutual funds and you don't hear high profile managers being fired, but it does happen all the time. If you're good in this business, you get paid a fortune. And if you're bad, you're fired. And there's no unions to protect managers. There's no entrenchment. There's no board of directors that historically just check off on managements, unlike there are in the lot of S&P 500 companies. I mean it's the most objective industry in the world. If your numbers stink, you're out. If your numbers are good, you get more money. It's the most Darwinian, it's beautiful, it's brutal, it works.

Q Talk about the Peter Lynch phenomenon.

I'll tell you the truth. I think that the idea that if you do well, you become a celebrity is nonsense. I think that to this day the only mutual fund manager anybody knows is the guy who's running Magellan.

It was Lynch. It was Vinik and that was because they were the only managers that got any press scrutiny. Can anyone name the manager of Capital Research which runs untold billions? Does anybody know who the managers are at Windsor, at Hutton. I mean these guys run billions. Well, we don't even know who they are. I don't even know who they are. I've met them and I don't know who they are. I mean I can name you some third-tier actor, some bit player in "Independence Day", but I can't tell you who the hell is running MFS, the oldest mutual fund society in the country!

There's no glorification or celebrification of managers. Periodically I see on CNBC some guy saying, "And they asked me for my autograph." I mean who else has made you that much money? I'd like the autograph, too, if they made me all that kind of money. But the idea that they're famous, no. I think it's just the opportunity. I think they should be more famous. I think there should be far more scrutiny. I'd like to know who they are. The industry's done a very good job of saying that they're not the guys who are in charge. It's the company itself, but most of these mutual fund companies, the guy who runs the company is just a fact totem and the guy who runs the money is the power. But we really don't know who they are. Five years from now I think you'll be able to name the top 25 mutual fund managers in the country in the way that you'll be able to say who runs IBM and who runs Ford Motor and who runs Chrysler. But right now, nah. I mean people know that Vinick was deposed. I don't even think people know who replaced him yet. I don't see that celebrification people talk about.

Q What do you think of Peter Lynch?

Peter Lynch made me a lot of money. So I like him. I had my IRA with him when I was making $125 a week as a cub reporter. He made me more money than I made in my job. To me, he's in the Pantheon.

Q What do you think of his thing that anybody can basically do what he did?

I was given Peter Lynch's first book to review about 15 years -- I guess 10 years ago, whenever it came out, and I wanted to savage it. I said, "Ah, I'm a professional. This guy's probably giving people advice gonna lose 'em a fortune." I read the damned thing and I immediately changed four things that I did at my work. Made me a lot more money. It killed me how good the book was. The second book I didn't think was that good because I think he said everything he really needed to say in the first book, but I think they wanted a second book because that's the nature of the industry. But Lynch has been an inspiration. I decided I kind of feel like that I got in the business because Lynch said that you didn't have to go to Harvard Business School to be in the business, that you could pick stocks. I mean Lynch gave me hope that amateurs could turn pro. And for that, I'm forever indebted to him. I never met him. I actually wrote him a letter when he was under attack last year. I didn't hear from him. I have to tell, ya', but that's like me, trying to shake Joe DiMaggio's hand and Joe DiMaggio saying, you know, waving me off. But that's okay. Joe DiMaggio never made me any money.

Q Talk about leaving the stock tips on your answering machine in law school.

I was in law school at the time. I went to law school in 1981 and every dime I could get from any job that I had I was throwing into the stock market. And I was so confident that I was even using, in my answer machine each week I would add a stock of the week, because I thought the market was so unbelievable and that we were coming -- this was in summer of '82 I thought we were on the verge of an unbelievable bull market which 14 years later turned out to be dead right. And I played it to the hilt and I made a fortune while I was trading out of phone booths at law school. I made a small fortune. I made a lot of money and I made a lot of other people wealthy.

And the reason why I got into the money management business was there was someone who was trying to reach me on my answering machine, a very wealthy individual who wanted me to write an article, because I was a journalist before I went to law school, and after three weeks of fabulous hits on my answering machine, he decided, "Look, I don't want you to write an article for me. Here's a million dollars. Go make me some money." And I mean at the time it was not a wealth individual. I did not come from a wealthy background. I thought that maybe, hopefully, Peter Lynch would make me that in my retirement age, 65. And there it was at the coffee connection, there's a check for a million dollars right in front of me to go invest because of my answering machine. And I did it and I made millions with it. I've been blessed and lucky. I think the one thing I would have to tell you is the market's very humbling. I have never for a minute felt in was my stock picking abilities. I feel that my stock picking abilities aided-- I was able to pick out which are the good stocks in the good market, but I have been blessed with a great market. I think that I could have been take apart if the bear market continued, but I waited three years before I felt the bear market was over and I was right. But what I'm saying is, I guess, is that anybody who thinks that their more smarter than the market, they're the guys who bought Iomega 40 points ago. I mean I'm not smarter than the market, but I can recognize a good tape and a bad tape. I recognize when it's right and when it's wrong and that's what my strength is. I mean that what makes me a professional, but the market itself has been fabulous during this whole period and I've got to give the market credit before I give myself credit.

Q Talk about the amorality of the market and the downsizing.

There've been two great downsizing eras in our country. There was the '80s downsizing era which was brought on by the fact that managements were fat and happy and had too much, too many people on the payroll, and weren't leaning on them or getting their head handed to them versus foreign competition. They had too many country clubs, too many airplanes, whatever. And raiders came in and rationalized those and then the raiders got too greedy and the raiders blew off. Good riddance. The second form of downsizing, the downsizing, the corporate killer downsizing, is directly responsive to what the mutual funds have wanted. Guys who have fired people and restructured in this environment when we've been winners and the economy's been good, in other words, they're not motivated by the fact that the economy is soft, are guys who are trying to please their shareholders. In the '80s they didn't give a darn about the shareholders. In the '90s the shareholders are supreme, because these managements are constantly meeting, these managements are incentivized by stock -- they're constantly meeting with their big shareholders who tend to be the mutual funds. Don't forget the mutual fund guys keep their job only if they pick the right stocks. You can pick the right stocks and get lucky or you can make companies into the right stocks by demanding certain changes, by demanding changes at Sears, by demanding changes at Xerox, by demanding changes at IBM. If you just take a look -- take a look in New York, Chase Manhattan Bank, big sleep bank, nothing really to write home about. Shareholders, activists, mutual funds forced the sale to Chemical Bank, make a fortune for everybody -- management, shareholders -- would never have happened in the '80s 'cause the shareholders didn't care because they weren't organized. They weren't mutual funds. There weren't blocs. Management didn't care what the mutual fund said. Managing was worried about raiders in the '80s, but you couldn't have financial take-overs the way that you could have in the '90s because managements really didn't own a lot of stock. Now you've got managements owning stock. You have a mutual funds owning stock. These are powerful forces toward creating more efficient, but, unfortunately, more brutal places to work at.

Q So should we worry about those laid-off employees?

Well, I have stressed over the last year that the only part of this whole capitalist engine that is a problem is the fact that if you're left off the capitalist engine, it's probably by chance or luck, ill luck. And something should be done about it. I have felt that there should be stock that's available to people who are laid off from companies so that they can take advantage of the appreciate that the stocks undergo after they're fired. The stocks go up because their more leaner and mean. They don't go up because they got rid of dead wood. Look, the people who've been laid off in the country for the last five years, they aren't dead wood. They're just guys who marginally weren't as profitable as other guys or they were guys who were profitable and they just took the buy-out. And nobody cares. The government doesn't care. The companies don't care. And I think that's a shame, which is why I went to the President of the United States and I suggested this plan and he seemed to be very interested in it and, you know, there've been some follow-up calls. This issue has died down right now because the way the corporate killers were on the cover of Newsweek and everybody's been hushed about the lay-offs. But there are continuing ongoing lay-offs that are meant to boost stock price and the fact that nothing's being done about the people who are laid off, through no fault of their own, I think is not criminal, but it sure is unethical. I couldn't live with myself if I was running one of these companies and I didn't give these people stock after I fired 'em.

Q But your answer is rooted in the stock market.

I have to believe that the same thing that caused these lay-offs, which as increased stock performance, can be extended, yes, and it's generosity. It's not capitalism I'm talking about. It's just shame and the belief that you have to live with yourself -- I think we can extend that to the people who've have been made to be fringe players by dent of their age or how much they were paid or because management wanted to be on the list.

In the course of the last year or two there have been tremendous strides made in disseminating information about stocks to the public. And some of that's great. You can get, from the SEC, documents as fast as I can about how well Allied Sink is doing, how well GE's doing, but it's also led to a dissemination of a kind of daisy chain of overly positive hype among individual investors who have been cheering stocks on. The people who are buying stocks because they're going up and they don't know what they do deserve to lose money. In the case of one-- again we've got this bellwether in Iomega which is a company that, frankly, I mean I knew when it was at two, I said, "Geez, they've got a hot product." I've lost millions buying companies with hot products, millions. In every case the situation's the same. I deserved to lose those millions. I bought 10 percent of a company that had a device that turns your PC into a TV, brilliant. I could get rid of the TV. I could just have two boxes be one! I lost every penny I had and I deserved it because the company's management was bad and they'd never weathered a downturn. Sounds like Iomega to me.

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