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10/26/2001
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IT Confidential

"Microsoft's ability to track, profile, and monitor 165 million Passport users has far-reaching and profound implications for privacy protection."

Microsoft is (A) a certified control freak that wants to exploit its customers' data for its own ruthless gain or (B) a hardworking company trying to stay ahead of the technology curve by advancing its products while supporting industry standards. With the official rollout of Windows XP last week, to quote my mother, "You pays your money and you takes your choice." The privacy industry was divided over the issue, especially concerning Microsoft's Internet data-collection technology, Passport. First, some privacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, sent a public letter to FTC chairman Timothy Muris, calling for, among other things, "an investigation into the information collection practices of Microsoft through Passport and associated services." Then Larry Ponemon, CEO of service provider Privacy Council, held a conference call to defend Microsoft's use of the P3P privacy standard in Passport. "If Microsoft hadn't stepped up to the plate with P3P, I don't think it would have made it," Ponemon says, adding "The contentious issues are larger than Passport and XP."

Remember the application service provider business? Some former customers can't seem to forget it, even if they want to. HostLogic was an ASP in Boca Raton, Fla., that filed for bankruptcy in February. The president of a Florida firm says he kept getting bills from the service provider even after the bankruptcy filing, though HostLogic never delivered the SAP applications his company had contracted for. The bills from HostLogic didn't even have a return address on them, says the executive. He ignored the correspondence, and it eventually stopped. Now, the bankruptcy court involved in the HostLogic settlement has begun sending him correspondence, demanding payment for services HostLogic supposedly provided but didn't. The Florida exec says he's trying to straighten the whole thing out with the court.

The Boston Stock Exchange last week hired its first CIO. As executive VP and CIO, Michael Curran will head technology development and oversee the technology of the exchange's trading, clearing, and IS operations. Before joining the Boston Stock Exchange, Curran was chief operating officer of Zurich Scudder Investments' international business unit. He has an extensive tech background: partner in the IT consulting practice of Coopers & Lybrand for seven years; before that, manager of IT resources and strategic planning for Apollo Computer; and before that, manager of IS for Peat, Marwick. Curran's career began with EDS in 1977 as a systems engineer.

Charles Schwab said last week that Dawn Lepore, vice chairman and CIO, will become vice chairman of technology and administration, and Schwab executive VP Geoff Penney will assume the CIO position, reporting to Lepore. According to a company spokesman, Lepore is taking over administrative responsibilities currently handled by chief administration officer Beth Sawi, who'll retire next year. Schwab has hired Mary McLeod, formerly head of HR at Cisco Systems, as executive VP of human resources, reporting to Lepore. "Over her 18-year career with us, Dawn has helped to leverage both the human and technological resources that make the company great," David Pottruck, president and co-CEO of Schwab, said in a statement. InformationWeek honored Lepore and Pottruck as its "Chiefs of the Year" for 2000.

Speaking of employment longevity, when Steven Granat, a business development manager with EMC, introduced Computer Associates senior VP Anthony Graffeo at an industry event on Long Island last week, he meant to pay Graffeo a compliment by referring to his 14 years at CA. "That's amazing," Granat said. The crowd, made up of Long Island professionals familiar with CA's hard-nosed policies, burst out in laughter. Granat tried to backtrack and clarify that he was impressed that a technology exec had stayed so long with the same company--any company. But the soft-pedaling didn't work, and the red-faced Granat simplified his intro to "Tony."


I've been with InformationWeek for 12 years. In all gratitude to my employer, I attribute my longevity to two well-honed skills: passing the buck and flying below the radar. I might keep flying if you pass me an industry tip to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. Or meet me at InformationWeek .com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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