Bye, bye, Sam Wyly. The dissident Computer Associates shareholder agreed to accept $10 million from the software vendor to drop his proxy fight for five seats on CA's board and to refrain from trying it again for another five years. The cool $10 million was also to extend by two years Wyly's noncompete agreement with CA, which dates back to his sale of Sterling Software to CA in 2000. CA recently appointed four members to its board, and as part of the deal agreed to accept an independent candidate elected by the board. In a statement about the end of the proxy fight, which didn't mention the $10 million payment, Wyly applauded CA CEO Sanjay Kumar and his team, and even credited them with putting CA on a path to "good corporate governance." Similarly, CA's quarterly financials took a positive turn last week. For its fiscal first quarter, ended June 30, CA reported revenue of $765 million, 7% higher than the $712 million it made in the same quarter last year. Net loss for the quarter was $65 million, a more than fivefold improvement over a loss of $342 million in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share mirrored that improvement, as an 11-cent loss bested a loss of 59 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
What's up with WebGain? Rumors of the demise of the Java tools vendor in Santa Clara, Calif., have been circulating for weeks. According to an E-mail from a WebGain spokesperson, "WebGain has recently completed a process of consolidation which included significant cuts in staffing and infrastructure. WebGain's primary objective is the sale of the company's product lines and all of its other assets." WebGain launched two years ago with backing from app-server vendor BEA Systems and venture-capital firm WarburgPincus. WebGain marketed the Visual Café development environment, the TopLink data-integration toolset, and other Java-based technologies. Oracle recently confirmed that it acquired the TopLink technology last month, along with 90 employees (mostly in Canada) and 700 customers. WebGain says it "intends to provide (or attempt to procure from third parties) support and service for most WebGain products and to facilitate a smooth transition to any parties who have acquired, or will acquire, WebGain assets."
The odyssey that was the long-term contract between Oracle and the state of California ended last week when the state's attorney general called a "rescission" to the $95 million enterprise license agreement. California entered into a 10-year, $125 million database deal in May 2001 that kicked off political infighting, with charges of influence peddling and cronyism eventually leading to the resignation of at least one California IT executive and the suspension of another. Opponents said the Oracle contract was overpriced and exclusionary; Oracle maintained the deal would save California $100 million over the length of the contract. "Oracle Corp. is pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of the state of California," the company said in a statement.
Nearly three-quarters of CIOs believe they're not the first place their CEOs turn to for information about new technology, according to a survey of 200 CIOs by New York executive-search firm John J. Davis & Associates. According to the survey, 57% of CIOs believe their CEOs turn to peers or to professional reading for information about new technology. Less than a quarter think they're the most important source of technology information, and a fifth believe CEOs form their opinions about technology from social interactions or elsewhere. "One of the cautionary tales of this survey is that there's an education gap between the CEO and the CIO, and it falls on the shoulders of the CIO to bridge that gap," Davis & Associates president John Davis says. If a CIO thinks he or she isn't taken as seriously as one of the CEO's peers, the CIO needs to be more assertive and communicative about the potential business value of technology. "If they do that," he says, "they will have a more responsive and empathetic CEO."
I want one of those. But somehow the equation, ME:assertive=BOSS:empathetic, has never worked out. Send your suggestions for winning the boss's approval, or an industry tip, to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about Java tools or long-term database licenses, 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.