Looking through tinted glasses

Looking through tinted glasses

When you're in the IT industry, it's difficult to see the forest from the trees, which is why it's easier for an outsider like Rose to help give perspective. Rose is scathing, for example, about year 2000 scare stories, believing they are just a ploy by vendors to get IT managers to panic buy.

Rose was also able to see the irony of what's going on between Northern Telecom and its planned acquisition, Bay Networks. Apparently Bay execs have been in Toronto discussing the elimination of overlapping product lines. One would expect Nortel lines would be the first to go - after all, Nortel bought Bay in recognition that data is assuming dominance over voice - but I hear Bay's voice over IP (VOIP) gateway and gatekeeper products are likely casualties.

This must have left NetSpeak Corp and Natural Microsystems, both in VOIP partnerships with Bay, feeling a little insecure.

When deciding whether to drop these partnerships, Bay should take a leaf out of PeopleSoft's book. The company recently named both top front-office software vendors, Siebel Systems and Vantive, as its "Preferred Partners". The rumour, however, is that PeopleSoft's partnership with Vantive has been strained by technology issues and it wants to try someone else without actually booting out Vantive.

Postponing unpleasantness

PeopleSoft could just be postponing unpleasantness, however. Vantive and Siebel compete head-on in most front-office niches, and CEOs John Luongo (Vantive) and Tom Siebel (Siebel) apparently disliked each other intensely when working together at Oracle many years ago.

Rose also drew my attention to Cisco Systems's new TV ad, which seems like an attempt by Cisco to get an antitrust lawsuit going against itself. In case you haven't seen it, the company proudly boasts that virtually all Internet traffic passes over Cisco equipment. It's as if Cisco feels piqued that Intel and Microsoft should be high-profile enough to attract the attention of the antitrust authorities, and is saying "Hey, guys, we've got a monopoly too".

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