Notes from the field: While Bobby smokes out tips, Rose just smokes

Notes from the field: While Bobby smokes out tips, Rose just smokes

Rose is on a crusade to become a martyr. She heard that under California's draconian anti-smoking laws, customers can now be fined for smoking in bars and has decided that she wants to be the test case.

If she's caught smoking, she plans to refuse to pay the fine and take the matter to court, and has even managed to find an attorney who'll take the case - a chain-smoker she met in a bar, naturally. She hasn't the faintest idea what the legal grounds for her defence will be, but feels she has a good case.

It turns out that I had right on my side when I suggested last October that MCI's Systemhouse unit was on the block - as you will no doubt have read already, it is being sold to Electronic Data Systems. I find that encouraging, because I've been hearing many similar acquisition rumours this week.

First, I'm told that just about everybody wants a piece of Sybase. Basically, each of Sybase's major pieces is more valuable than the whole. So Oracle and BEA are after Sybase's Powersoft assets, SAP wants the remote database to bolster its push into front-office applications, and IBM wouldn't mind picking up the company's Jaguar middleware technology.

If you can't build it, buy it

Elsewhere in the mergers and acquisitions world, Intel apparently has its sights set on buying Inktomi, which it wants for the latter's network caching technology, used in its Traffic Server.

Continuing the theme of "if you can't build it, buy it", rumour has it that Tivoli is considering buying Tioga as a way of furthering its desktop management strategy. Tioga has developed a technology that creates a profile of users' desktops, which can then be used for desktop application repair.

Rose's strategy for becoming a martyr is to spend as much time as possible in bars with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth. It's a very convenient strategy, because that's what she would have been doing anyway.

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