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John Soat
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IT Confidential: Analyze This: The Microsoft Connection

Gartner expects the executive transition 'will be a smooth one.'

Remember the controversy kicked up last year by an analyst report, paid for by Microsoft, comparing the cost of ownership of Microsoft products favorably with that of Linux? A recent report by systems integrator BearingPoint concludes that the licensing and support costs of Windows Server 2003 were lower than Red Hat Linux or Novell/SuSE Linux in some usage scenarios. Guess who paid for the report? Co-author Christopher Jackson, a senior manager of technology with BearingPoint, downplays any conflict of interest, insisting the findings are entirely objective--and suggesting the fee paid by Microsoft was small, anyway. BearingPoint joins Giga Research (now part of Forrester Research), IDC, and Meta Group as IT consulting firms commissioned by Microsoft to generate such reports, which generally cast Windows in a favorable light. Following last year's controversy, Forrester CEO George Colony established a policy against "paid for, publicized product comparisons."

Speaking of analyst firms, did you know that Michael Fleisher, Gartner's chairman and chief executive officer, is leaving at the end of the year? Gartner mentioned Fleisher's departure in a first-quarter earnings release several weeks ago. Last fall, Silver Lake Partners, a private equity-investment firm, acquired a significant interest in Gartner. Silver Lake is run by some no-nonsense Silicon Valley veterans, such as Ed Zander, formerly of Sun Microsystems. And its investors, called limited partners, include a who's who of industry execs, such as Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, and Bill Gates.

Procter & Gamble CIO Steve David is retiring at the end of this year. Taking over his business-technology duties this summer will be Filippo Passerini, currently VP and global business services officer. David will stay on until year's end in his capacity as business-to-business officer. David started at P&G as a sales rep 30 years ago and held a series of marketing and sales positions before becoming CIO almost exactly four years ago.

In the first quarter of 2004, 4.2 million people posted their resumés on's job board, up 44% from a year earlier, according to Internet Security Systems, a security-services provider. Along with that, there was a 26% increase in the number of Internet service providers hosting job-search sites. Unless it's hiring, why should ISS care about such stats? Because it has a product, Proventia Web Filter, that promises to cut down on employees' Web surfing for jobs while at work, along with other online time-wasters. "Employees routinely engage in a number of inappropriate activities while in the office," said Clarence Morey, ISS's product line manager for content security, in a statement. "Surfing for jobs is only one of them."

Man, I'm working in the wrong office! I had no idea the corporate environment had turned into such a hotbed of illicit activity. All juicy office gossip, and industry tips, go to or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about analyst reports, executive departures, or the IT job market, meet me at's Listening Post:

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

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