Tabloid: Q GAGGED

Tabloid: Q GAGGED

Tabloid scribes have come to understand just how conservative (read obstructive) Compaq is when it comes to information it allows the media to get its hands on.

Vendors like Compaq are similar to oil companies like Shell after disastrous spills (of oil or information); that is, all denial and fluffy statements aimed at damage control.

It is the challenge of titles like ARN Tabloid to circumnavigate that glass house they build around themselves.

For an everyday wannabe-a-Tabloid-reporter, cracking a good Compaq story these days is often a matter of asking around from the increasingly large number of Q-haters. Alternatively, you can get the information from really good sources but they will always want to remain nameless as they are under legal obligations (non-disclosure agreements) to do so.

Over the last few weeks, Compaq has been doing the rounds of its bigger retail partners to discuss plans to open stores of its own in an attempt to assure them there is no conflict with their operations.

However, Tabloid can reveal that Compaq's minders didn't want details of these plans to get past the toes they are not really treading on and therefore asked all those being briefed to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Everyone from retailers to strategy consultants, PR account managers and hired guns contacted to help with the authoring of damage control statements, have been asked to attach their autographs to the end of a bunch of black marks on paper which legally binds them to silence.

Compaq clearly wants no leaks in regards to its retail strategy, which only serves to strengthen feelings that they do in fact have something to hide. Otherwise, they surely wouldn't be so guarded against the people who inform the rest of you as to what is going on.

Speak up if you're going to blow that whistleBy Sandy CremorneIt seems that the rail commuters of Sydney are well informed about some of those scandals of the IT channel. No names will be used here to protect the . . . well, as the line below the Tabloid masthead says, "No one is innocent", but the lesson is worthwhile.

A consultant from a well-known systems integrator was describing to his earbashed friend (apparently, also from the IT-savvy world) a situation where a client had been railroaded into the acquisition of a couple of servers - fairly serious pieces of hardware valued at around $100K each.

It appears the project went off the rails, and the servers are now sitting behind a desk in someone's office, uncommissioned and unchecked, yet running out of warranty because the seal had been broken.

"Actually," said the genial gibberer to his train-travelling colleague, "[client's name] lost the key and just busted the lock on the box . . . that invalidates the warranty anyway."

The lesson is to make sure that the Tabloid spy you are sitting near gets ALL the gory details.

Buzzword bingo

Tabloid had a spy at Computer Associate's recent CA World users and partners conference-cum-expo in New Orleans but came home somewhat battered by the cliches and PR flak that flew in all directions.

"We actually played buzzword bingo in some of the press conferences as they dribbled marketing cliche after marketing cliche," said our frequent-flyer-points-flushed spy.

"I was disappointed during an acquisition announcement when I had 'TCO', 'total solutions', 'seamless legacy integration' and 'leading provider' all crossed off my five-word game, only to be beaten to the prize on my last buzzword.

"As our smiling presenter uttered the words 'true win-win situation', I was still crossing it off my otherwise complete ticket, when a hard-drinking frill-necked lizard from Oz screamed out the winner's chant of 'Bingo'."

Tabloid's correspondent rued that last jello shot at what affectionately became known as the "AC/DC" bar on Bourbon Street the night before which he claimed had slowed his reactions.

By Cat Beauchamp

Walsh firms in Cisco stakes

Terry Walsh looks certain to take over the role of Cisco Australia managing director, following the announcement that the other main candidate for the job, Phil Belcher, will be assuming the role of Asia-Pacific manager for enterprise.

It has been well understood in the industry that either Belcher or Walsh would assume the role left vacant by the charismatic Gary Jackson, who left the local job to head up the Asia-Pacific telecommunications operations.

With Belcher taking the Asia-Pacific role, it is almost certain Walsh will take the Australian MD position. At press time, ARN Tabloid's spy reported that Walsh was in the US meeting Cisco senior management.

Be quick for your Y2K diary

The Information Technology Management Association (ITMA), a Michigan-based non-profit corporation, claims it can help you decide what you should do about Y2K.

ITMA has prepared a 25-page "Personal Preparation Diary" (hard copy) for individuals on what impact the year 2000 problem is likely to have and recommendations to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Major areas covered in the diary include impact on pri-mary life and death needs, financial concerns, economy, transport, social impact, commonsense preparations and recommended timing of actions.

It seems that to order the diary, you need a Y2K compliant PC and access to the Internet.

Hmmm, what do you do about any complaints AFTER December 31?

Through the Vallejo of death

Anybody with the name Charles is perfectly suited to the channel as they are almost anagrams of each other. So agrees Network Associates International, which recently appointed Channel Vallejo to the position of ANZ charles sales manager.

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