"We've been cooperating fully with the DOJ for the past two and-a-half years, and we're extremely disappointed by their actions."
To paraphrase Alfonso Bedoya's famous line from The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre: "Laws? We don't need no stinkin' laws!" Not that the new chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Timothy Muris, looks anything like Alfonso Bedoya, but that was the message he delivered last week at the Privacy 2001 conference in Cleveland with his first major address on privacy enforcement under the FTC of the new administration. "Acres of trees died to produce a blizzard of barely comprehensible privacy notices," said Muris, who became chairman in June, referring to the most recent privacy statute, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which forced financial firms to disclose their privacy policies to consumers. "This is a statute that only lawyers could love-until they found out it applied to them." Instead of pushing new legislation, the FTC will increase by 50% the resources it uses to enforce current privacy regulations, including an increase in the number of "full-time equivalent" FTC employees working on privacy matters from 36 to 60 and significant investment in data-mining software to track spam and cross-reference privacy complaints. Muris' antilegislation stance is one that rings true with some businesses. Kirk Herath, chief privacy officer for insurer Nationwide, speaking at the conference the day before, said the country doesn't need more privacy legislation. "We need less legislation and less-confusing laws," Herath said.
"Struggling Supply Chain Vendor Weds Struggling CRM Vendor In Effort To Remake The Supply Chain End-To-End"-that would have been the headline if the rumor last week of i2 Technologies being acquired by Siebel Systems had turned out to be true. Unfortunately, "We're not buying them; that's ridiculous," says a spokeswoman for Siebel. "We do have a relationship with them and we will further that, but we have no intention of buying them." Sources say the rumor may have come from i2 itself-the supply-chain vendor may be shopping for a buyer. Meanwhile, Siebel did acquire business analytics vendor nQuire Software last week for an undisclosed amount. Siebel will integrate and ship nQuire's analytic server and Web products with the Siebel 7 application suite.
Gregor Bailor, CIO and executive VP of operations and technology for Nasdaq, has left the exchange and joined Capital One Financial as its top technology exec. Bailor, who had been at Nasdaq since 1998, will oversee Capital One's IT architecture as well as development of IT financial strategies that drive product development for the $5.42 billion financial-services company. "Bailor's understanding of both the potential of new technologies and the power of well-designed, scalable architecture will help position Capital One for the next wave of growth," said Nigel Morris, president and chief operating officer of Capital One, in a statement.
Having dodged the bullet of a restructuring of its board of directors, Computer Associates finds itself in trouble with the Feds. Two weeks ago, the antitrust division of the Justice Department sued CA in connection with its $3.5 billion acquisition in 1999 of Platinum Technologies, claiming CA violated price-fixing laws by "agreeing that Platinum would limit the price discounts and other terms it offered its customers during the mandatory pre-merger waiting period," a practice known as "gun-jumping," according to Justice. During the waiting period, Justice says, CA installed one of its employees at Platinum's headquarters to review and approve customer contracts. "By assuming control of Platinum before the expiration of the required waiting period while the Justice Department was investigating the legality of the proposed acquisition, Computer Associates failed to obey the law," said Charles James, assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division, in a statement. Says CA, "Platinum's business managers made all business decisions during that period, including those relating to pricing and discounts."
A former Platinum employee tells me the inside joke during the acquisition was that CA had more lawyers than consultants. I said to him, how could you tell?-they both speak an arcane language, ignore your calls, and charge for a lot more hours than they seem to work! Maybe I'm just being cynical, or maybe I need an industry tip. Send one to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about lawyers, guns, and software, meet me at InformationWeek .com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.