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Why Tech Remains Sound

Cramer says the woes of AMD, Cabletron, Micron and 3Com don't reflect the overall health of their sector.
Author:

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report

,

Cabletron

(CS) - Get Credit Suisse Group AG Sponsored ADR Report

,

Micron

(MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) Report

and

3Com

(COMS)

? Could you come up with a bigger rogue's gallery of disappointing tech earnings? Yep, here are four chronic underperformers that perennially seek to blame the stars for their ills.

But now, taken together, they will probably shake out some weak-handed souls who are in tech. Each one has just enough credibility -- check that, AMD has no credibility whatsoever -- to make people worried about tech.

So let me reassure you that these also-ran companies are simply unrepresentative of the state of any industry, let alone their own. Let's start with Advanced Micro. Hey, great board! Yeah, let's stick with Wild Man Sanders -- he's a keeper! What does he have on those guys that they let him stay in there? If this were sports, Sanders would have been sacked 10 seasons ago. Instead, they keep giving him the ball. Surreal.

Micron? Here a glut of DRAMs periodically crushes this commodity maker. But to say that its quarter reflects on the fortunes of the industry is like coming to the conclusion that people aren't reading much if

International Paper

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reports a down quarter. No extrapolation here.

Cabletron -- or, as we call it, Tron -- seemed to get some benefit from the departure of its last founder and

a rumor on another site that it was going to get a bid from

Siemens

(later denied). Cabletron is fast becoming the

Quaker Oats

(OAT)

of the tech biz, meaning that, like Oats, it will be rumored constantly until it is gone or becomes completely irrelevant. But as a barometer of networking? Forget it.

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3Com is the most painful. Every time I try to get away, it keeps drawing me back in! 3Com is still being killed by that

U.S. Robotics

"get the shorts" purchase a few years back. Plus, it goes up against

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

, which is somewhat akin to the

Knicks

going up against the

Spurs

. (Don't talk to me about it. And I stayed in the city last night to see the end of that game! Who can afford the hotels in this city anymore?)

At least I don't have much explaining to do here. Cisco ramped immediately after 3Com stunk up the joint again. The market, alas, is not totally stupid.

Random musings:

Take that

S&P 500

. Instead of

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

you add

Vulcan Materials

(VMC) - Get Vulcan Materials Company Report

, and the next day Vulcan blows up! Next time pick something from the real economy. That gravel business is a tough one. Hoo-hah! ... Memo to Andy "Snarkman" Serwer over at

Fortune

: Enjoy your final days as the ultimate email arbiter of the afternoon's activities. You deserve them!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.