Rollins walks plank as Gates battles pirates

Some random thoughts on recent happenings of note in the IT industry:

So the Kevin Rollins Era is over at Dell, with Mr. Direct Model himself, Michael Dell, taking back the reins of the slipping PC manufacturer. During Rollins’ two and a half years of guidance, Dell saw itself fall to the number two spot in the PC vendor horse race and become mired in last year’s messy recall over faulty laptop batteries. So Dell steps back in to try to solve his baby’s problems around selling his wares to foreign markets. One has to ask, why did he leave in the first place? It’s common knowledge that he shared an office with Rollins; he also had retained his chairman of the board title, meaning he wasn’t exactly off in Tahiti on an extended vacation. It will be interesting to see just how long he remains in the CEO’s chair, however…

CA has decided to change the branding of many of its products after conducting a survey and finding that buyers preferred to see the CA name on products rather than the Unicenter or BrightStor monikers. This finding is a tad surprising, seeing as the two letters “CA” have in recent months been closely associated with the dirty accounting scandal the firm endured and the subsequent conviction of ex-CEO Sanjay Kumar. But perhaps it’s also a sign that supposedly hip and catchy product names are being phased out, a relic of the long-since-burst Internet bubble. And hey, former CEO Charles Wang’s decision as owner of the New York Islanders to hire his goalie as general manager hasn’t yet completely backfired, so anything can happen…

Microsoft’s ongoing battle with software pirates took a somewhat surprising turn this month when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote to Bill Gates requesting that piracy charges against a Russian school teacher be dropped. Gorbachev claimed that the PCs the teacher used in his classroom came with the unauthorized bits and bytes preinstalled. Microsoft officials fired back that Redmond did not request the charges be brought against the purportedly piratical pedagogue; it was the prosecutors who pushed that button. Seems Big Bill and his acolytes resorted to an age-old solution when backs are to the wall: blame it on the lawyers. The bottom line is that Microsoft could have the charges (which carry a potential five years in prison) dropped, and hopefully it will.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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