IT Confidential: A Computer Industry Aptitude Test - InformationWeek
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John Soat
John Soat

IT Confidential: A Computer Industry Aptitude Test

My son, a junior in high school, is studying to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, familiarly known as the SAT. I'm up to my elbows in No. 2 lead pencils and standardized forms, and I'm beginning to look at the world as one big aptitude test. Recent developments in the computer industry allow me to vet that theory. I'll provide a list of memorable quotes from last week, and you see if you can match them with their talking heads from a list below.

1) "We have a highly fragmented enterprise software industry without a clear consolidator--other than Oracle. We have an opportunity to roll up a lot of Silicon Valley enterprise software companies."

2) "Nevertheless, despite the vast disparity between SCO's public accusations and its actual evidence--or complete lack thereof--and the resulting temptation to grant IBM's motion, the court has determined that it would be premature to grant summary judgment ..."

3) "We ask Congress to establish a unified and rationalized set of laws for all IP-enabled services. ... A deregulatory approach will provide needed certainty and pour rocket fuel on the investment fire that is burning in our industry."

4) "Pfizer is committed to protecting the public from health and other risks associated with the illegal sale of fake and unapproved generic products claiming to be Viagra."

5) "What would she get if the firm had done well? A country?"

And here are the quotees:
A. An enthusiastic Ed Zander, Motorola CEO, testifying before Congress on the need for changes to the aging Telecommunications Act of 1996.

B. Jeff Kindler, Pfizer's general counsel, commenting on the 17 lawsuits brought last week by the pharmaceutical company and Microsoft against a pair of spam rings running sites that allegedly sell generic Viagra.

C. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball, reluctantly denying IBM's request for summary judgment in the lawsuit brought against it by SCO Group over alleged use of Unix code in IBM's version of Linux.

D. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean of the Yale School of Management, commenting on fired Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's $21 million severance package.

E. Oracle CEO Larry "The Consolidator" Ellison, speaking at a Merrill Lynch investor conference in Santa Monica, Calif.

And what would a test be without a true-false section? Answer True or False:

  • Fifty-three million Americans, or 44% of Internet users and one-quarter of all adults, now say they use online banking.
  • Thirty-three percent fewer consumers browse online personals today than a year ago, according to a survey of more than 2,300 online adults.
  • A salacious Super Bowl ad featuring a buxom young lady caused Web traffic at, a Web hosting and domain-name service company, to jump 378%.
  • I never did well on standardized tests. I always tried to connect the dots on the answer sheet to make them into a picture, like a snake or a parrot. Test me with an industry tip--send it to or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about software industry consolidation, Linux copyright problems, or Carly's abrupt ouster, meet me at's Listening Post.

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

    To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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