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9/26/2003
08:33 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Fundamental Mistake: Not Involving IT

Chalk one up for Microsoft. A federal judge in Madison, Wis., last week dismissed a Wisconsin company's claim that Microsoft's Office XP business-software suite infringed on its patents. HyperPhrase Technologies had charged that the "Smart Tags" feature in the Microsoft software was based on patents it owns for data-storage and -retrieval methods. U. S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the plaintiffs hadn't demonstrated that Microsoft's software exploited HyperPhrase's intellectual property. Smart Tags is an important feature in Office for connecting links among software programs and between software and Internet content. The thrill of victory will be short-lived, however: Microsoft faces an additional 30 patent and trademark cases.

John Guevara knows there's a challenge ahead of him as he moves into a new technology leadership role at auto-component manufacturer Delphi. And that challenge is called winter. The Cuban-born, Miami-raised Guevara was most recently CIO of Delphi Mexico's operations--he lived in El Paso, Texas, and worked in its headquarters in Juarez, Mexico. Now he's moving into a role guiding technology strategy at Delphi companywide (title TBD), and that involves working out of the firm's Troy, Mich., headquarters. Guevara's great migration north is Delphi's second major IT leadership change this year: Bette Walker moved up within Delphi to take over the CIO job this summer after Peter Janak retired.

"It will catch up," said Laurette Bradley, senior VP, corporate systems and business planning, IT, for Verizon Communications, at the InformationWeek 2003 Fall Conference last week, referring to digital subscriber line service, specifically Verizon's DSL service, which fell on its face because Verizon execs made a "fundamental mistake" by "not involving IT early enough" in the planning and execution of the broadband Internet-access strategy. Bradley said IT is now intimately involved in Verizon's DSL service initiative and things are going much better, but it will be a "long catching-up process."

Japan is one wired country. Half of its 126 million citizens are Internet users, and they increasingly access the Net via mobile phones, according to a report released last week by Yankee Group. The research firm found that between 60 million and 70 million Japanese use the Internet, and approximately the same number carry Internet-capable mobile phones. Coincidently, Michael Dell told the audience at Technology Review magazine's Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., last week that half of all TV viewers in Japan watch on their computers, rather than on TV sets.

But do they watch TV on their mobile phones? That kind of tech savvy is intimidating--I have a hard-enough time keeping up with E-mail. But not so hard I'd miss an industry tip sent to jsoat@cmp.com, or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about software patents, Michigan winters, or DSL versus cable modem, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


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

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