@pete2, I'm typing this whilst on plastic grass and it is much better than many of the IT areas I've worked in
@AC1, yes ATOS have screwed up there.
@Robert and @Danny: As you know, the Reg makes great mileage out of IT cockups, but as yet nothing has gone seriously wrong with the Olympic IT, except of course G4S whose incompetence is something they partly blame on computers, but not those run by ATOS. (yet)
@Nick, at least when most of us screwup we don't get publicly flogged, though in my previous job I did get to say "get out of that fucking chair, this needs a grownup else we will be on the front page of the FT tomorrow".
@AC You may or may not know that most serious finance textbooks, the ones with equations, use IBM share and debt manipulations as worked examples. After the Georgia games, IBM went though a very very bad period, it is now mostly a services firm which you can see as good or bad.
As it happens, IBM explained to me in very great detail the business rationale for why it did the Olympics, indeed I was offered a job whilst visiting the Lillehammer games. In broad terms IBM did very well out of Olympic sponsorship, the basic deal was they did all the tech (not just IT) got on TV screens broadcast over the planet, a better deal that (say) ATOS get. I think many people reading my piece would simply not know that ATOS do the Olympics (or that Cisco do it as well) because IBM had a better deal than sponsors now get.
The deals are wrapped in the sort of fascist secrecy that you'd expect from the IOC, making figuring out the benefits really quite hard. My impression is that MS is not *allowed* to say that it provides much of the technology, their PR people flatly refused to discuss that.
Of course it wasn't just the screwup that cost IBM, the IOC is well known to be hugely corrupt and driven solely by internal politics. Just now I saw the president of the IOC on TV explaining how he'd be perfectly happy for G4S to bid for future Olympics. I invite people to try and think of an honourable reason for him to say that.