|January 8, 2001|
By John Soat
It all started with tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2001 from AMR Research. In an E-mail newsletter entitled "Reality Check Time For B2B Marketplaces," the research firm speculated that Microsoft might acquire application service provider USinternetworking this year mainly because "USinternetworking borrows money from Microsoft more often than teenagers borrow from their parents." USi wasn't too pleased with the prediction. "As an industry leader, we expect to be referenced in articles pertaining to the ASP market, whether they be in jest or not," sniffed a company spokeswoman. AMR Research director Kate Murphy says the joke was intended as a reflection on all ASPs and their cash-poor, unproven business models. "They keep having to go back for financing, and it's still unclear if the financing will be enough." Murphy says AMR has no knowledge of Microsoft's plans concerning USi, but the idea of an acquisition isn't without merit. "Microsoft has poured a lot of money into USi, and since [Microsoft] is moving toward this business model with its acquisition of Great Plains, we joked it might not be such a bad idea to add USi to the mix."
J.C. Penney said last week that its longtime CIO, David Evans, is retiring. He'll be replaced by Stephen Raish, a 28-year company veteran who most recently served as head of a task force reviewing all aspects of the retailer's merchandising processes. The new CIO is part of a management shakeup initiated by newly minted CEO Allen Questrom that also involves a new CFO as well as the retirement of the heads of the direct marketing division and the catalog and Internet division.
Network Associates' newly appointed CEO says that when it comes to customer focus, it's time for the security software company to "get maniacal." George Samenuk was named CEO last week, a week after Network Associates warned of a $130 million shortfall. Samenuk is bullish on the company's future, noting that, "We have great products, which are No. 1 and No. 2 in their market." Samenuk also notes that Network Associates has more than $650 million in cash on hand. That may come in handy, considering the spate of shareholder lawsuits launched after the company's stock tanked. Samenuk joins Network Associates from Tradeout, a business-surplus exchange; before that, he spent 22 years at IBM.
Rahn Jackson, a former account exec in Microsoft's Washington sales office, and six other former and current Microsoft employees, filed suit last week in the District Court in Washington, claiming they were passed over for promotions and paid less because they're African-Americans. Willie Gary, a Florida lawyer who has won racial discrimination suits against Coca-Cola and Walt Disney, represents the group, which is suing Microsoft for $5 billion in damages. The judge hearing the case? None other than Thomas Penfield Jackson, the judge who ruled against Microsoft in its antitrust case.
Delta Air Lines may retain former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as an Internet consultant, says Vince Caminiti, the airline's senior VP for E-business. Late last summer, Gingrich made a presentation to Caminiti and Delta's director of health services Chris Bisgard, who Caminiti describes as the airline's "chief medical officer," on how the Internet can be used to bring doctors and patients closer together. (Delta has a medical officer because of FAA requirements relating to the health of flight crews.) According to Caminiti, Delta's E-business unit is "reaching out to form partnerships" with a variety of people and organizations. "The informal meeting [with Gingrich] is turning into a formal relationship."
Why does the move from politico to Internet consultant not surprise me? I see doors opening for Al Gore. After all, who better to tap for advice than the man who invented the darn thing! Advise me on an industry tip at email@example.com or phone 516-562-5326 or fax 516-562-5036.
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