IT Confidential: Dirty Laundry Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

In competitive bidding, 'price goes to zero all the time,' Ellison said.

John Soat, Contributor

July 9, 2004

3 Min Read

I already miss the Oracle-PeopleSoft trial, and it's only been over for a week. The computer industry doesn't air its dirty laundry nearly as often as I'd like it to, despite my best efforts. So the Oracle-Peoplesoft trial came--if I may deliberately mix my metaphors--as a breath of fresh air. The wonderful and talented people who are responsible for InformationWeek's Web site ( did a heroic job in setting up a valuable resource for people interested in news and analysis of the trial ( As part of that resource, there's a link to the Department of Justice's exhibits used in the trial and Oracle's defense exhibits. For example, there's a complete transcript of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's testimony on the dynamics of the software industry. ("It's not like buying lumber where, as long as lumber's good quality, the cheaper you can buy, you buy the cheapest lumber. The dynamics of the situation include lots and lots of other things.") My favorite exhibit, though, is No. P2841: "Oracle - E-mail: Kender to Greene re: How Dirty Can I Fight? (03/04/2002)." It's an E-mail exchange between Oracle marketing people, which includes this memorable line: "Remember. SAP is not the enemy, as much as you'll want to spank them. peoplesoft [sic] is the enemy. Bury them."

For those looking for a greater challenge, be careful what you wish for. Caesars Entertainment last week named Carol Pride as CIO, and former CIO and senior VP Bob Conover as Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives. As such, Conover will report to Caesars CEO Wallace Barr and be responsible for "maximizing the return on the investments the company has made in its state-of-the-art data systems by developing new database marketing tools and techniques; increasing room and customer revenue yield; improving integration of slot systems data into the company's data warehouse; and identifying and putting in place new table game management systems," according to a statement. Also, Conover will lead the slot-development group. Pride, who had been VP of IS, will report to Caesars' chief financial officer.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly last week became the first state official to invoke the federal Can-Spam Act in suing a Weston, Fla., man who sent out thousands of unsolicited E-mails offering "pre-approved mortgage rates even with bad credit." Reilly also charged the spammer with violating the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The case is scheduled for July 21 in Massachusetts' Suffolk Superior Court. Reilly's office says 27 complaints against DC Enterprises, bearing a Newton, Mass., address and operated by the Florida man, have been filed with authorities, including the state's Consumer Complaint Hotline, the Federal Trade Commission, and the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

Darn it! I knew I shouldn't have applied for that loan. Can you run a mortgage-finance company from jail? Let's ask Ken Lay. And maybe he has an industry tip, which he (or you) can send to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about the dynamics of the software industry, leveraging your IT assets, or spam, meet me at's Listening Post:

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