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IT Confidential: Executive Swaps And Expletives

'I've always had a sense of [BS] and bullies,' says consultant Enderle.

SAP and Siebel Systems are jostling for customers, market leadership--and people. Last week, Patrick Bakey left his post as VP of sales for Siebel's federal government business to become senior VP of SAP's North American CRM unit. Well, countered a Siebel spokesman, Siebel recently hired an industry veteran (and onetime SAPer), Eileen McPartland, to become its senior VP of global services, and executive job-hopping is just a reality among enterprise software vendors. Meanwhile, AMR Research analyst Laura Preslan released a report last month predicting that SAP will edge past Siebel this year as the biggest generator of CRM software revenue--with SAP at 14% of the market to Siebel's 13%. Like who's winning the talent wars, this one sounds too close to call.

Does this season of carefully crafted campaign rhetoric leave you longing for something a bit more polarizing? Check out the post by our Larry Greenemeier on InformationWeek's blog: "IT industry consultant Rob Enderle came down hard on Linux and the concept of free software at the second day of SCO Forum in Las Vegas. 'I've always had a sense of [BS] and bullies,' Enderle told the crowd of SCO resellers, software partners, customers, and employees. The implication is that IBM and a faction of the Linux vendor and user community are resorting to threats and misinformation to undermine SCO's efforts to pursue legal action to protect the intellectual property it acquired from Novell back in 1995." Greenemeier notes that Enderle also described some open-source backers as dot-com millionaires who made their fortunes and now have less interest in making money than in keeping others--proprietary vendors--from making money. For more, check out

Nothing like an open-source discussion to bring out the zealots on all sides. Sun Microsystems seems to think making its Solaris operating system open source could neutralize some of the emotions and let it compete on technical merits. Said Sun chief operating officer and president Jonathan Schwartz last week from Sun's Howard Street offices, not far from last week's LinuxWorld: "I can compete on the things I want to compete on--operating system to operating system, rather than a social movement."

No one ever got grounded for going to work for IBM. That's the takeaway from the career path painted by IBM senior VP Nick Donofrio during his keynote speech at LinuxWorld. Donofrio described his 30-year career path as seeing the industry "from the bottom up," graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York and going to work as a chip engineer. Why'd he pick Big Blue to start? "I went to work for IBM out of college 'cause my mother made me," Donofrio says. "But that's a story I'll save for another time."

To paraphrase a bumper sticker, if you see my mom, don't tell her I'm a journalist; she thinks I play piano in a saloon. John Soat will return to this column later this month. If you want to offer career advice, or have an industry tip, send it to or phone 516-562-5326.

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