NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Foreign relations

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Foreign relations

Getting Amber back may not be as easy as I had hoped. She declined to attend a New Year’s Eve party with me, but instead showed up alone. Other than a few jabs here and there, she was not interested in me. But I caught her looking my way, thinking me unaware.

New territory

It’s no secret that IT conspiracy theorists think perhaps Bill Gates is trying to take over the world, but now it seems that he just may have some clout in Latin America — kind of, anyway.

One of my spies reports that Microsoft’s Latin American Division is honouring its employees when they reach 10 years, five years and three years of service.

Most of these employees are listed on a Microsoft Web site as residents in South American and Central American countries. Interestingly enough, however, at least six of the employees have their country listed as “Microsoft”.

Country at stake or not, Microsoft continues to find more and more ways to force users to upgrade. The latest trick up the monopolist’s sleeve regards NetMeeting, according to a gumshoe of mine.

The Windows XP version of NetMeeting is not as compatible with previous iterations as it should be. “Sure, the basics of ‘see me’, ‘see him’ and our voices, all work fine . . . but [it’s] not sharing anything,” the spy said.

Whiteboarding, chatting and sharing an application apparently will not work. And with Microsoft Messenger all they can do is type back and forth.

The message I get is that users have to upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP so that NetMeeting will work fully.

Wither WorldCom

Despite recently snagging former Compaq CEO and Hewlett-Packard bigwig, Michael Cappellas, troubled telco WorldCom is facing more than financial woes — namely customer retention.

A spy of mine based in the US with a contract that is up for a WorldCom T1 line can vouch for that. He said he had been getting a number of calls from ex-WorldCom sales reps lately pitching him on competitor’s services, including one rep who was still picking up leads via his active WorldCom voice mail box.

To make matters worse, when my spy goes to the WorldCom “dstreet” Web site ( and attempts to call the US toll-free number shown there, all he gets is a busy signal. Makes it kinda hard to get new customers and keep old ones, don’t you think?

As much as I hate to admit it, I suppose on some level I can relate to WorldCom’s struggle to retain folks. “You need to start treating me better if you want me back,” Amber said. “I need some romance.”

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