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9/20/2002
04:28 PM
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IT Confidential: From Cyberterrorism To Filling Pac Bell Park

President Bush last week plucked 24 execs from the private sector to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee, tasked with weighing in on how best to protect the nation's IT infrastructure. Chairing the committee is Union Pacific president and CEO Richard Davidson. From the tech sector, Bush tapped Intel chief Craig Barrett, Akamai chairman George Conrades, and Symantec CEO John Thompson. Also named: Nasdaq vice chairman Alfred Berkeley, eBay chief operating officer Maynard Webb, and American Airlines CEO Don Carty. Then there's New York City top cop Ray Kelly, who's sharply reduced street crime in the Big Apple, so dealing with hackers and cyberterrorists should be easy.

Marc Benioff is at it again. Benioff, former Oracle top salesman who left the database powerhouse to launch what has turned out to be one of the few successful dot-com application-service providers, Salesforce.com, is known for his lavish parties, even in these austere times. On Sept. 22, the Salesforce CEO rented out Pac Bell Park in San Francisco for a party that included a barbecue, band, activities for kids, tours, and batting practice. Benioff says "hundreds" of people were invited, including customers, employees, business partners, and the press (moi, aussi). This was all to celebrate the launch of a new customer-relationship management service for small workgroups called Team Edition, which costs $1,000 for up to five users for a year's subscription. So, how much Team Edition will Marc have to sell before it pays for the party at the ballpark, which was reported to have cost about $100,000?

Speaking of Oracle, CEO Larry Ellison last week resigned his position on the board of Apple Computer, according to a statement from the alternative PC maker. "Larry has served Apple shareholders well as a director during the past five years," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We're looking forward to benefiting from his counsel on an informal basis going forward." Ellison has been tight with Jobs and his company for many years, and came close to buying Apple back in 1995 but was blocked by certain shareholders. Corporate governance is a hot potato these days, and Oracle's recent 10% decline in revenue may be occupying Ellison's time.

I got several fiendishly subversive responses to my call for help with WorldCom's search for a new name. The one that got the most votes: WorldCon. The most creative one: IOUNet. And the most ambitious suggestion was renaming the company The Whole; its new motto: "Throw your business into The Whole -- We did."

Poor WorldCom. It can't even figure out how much money it actually owes -- wait a minute, neither can I! Actually, I don't really want to know. I just want an industry tip. Send it to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about cyberterrorism, ASPs, or corporate governance, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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