OPINION: Singing those layoff blues

OPINION: Singing those layoff blues

I've decided it's time to stop watching TV," Amber proclaimed in disgust. She's tired of watching reruns of the September 11 disaster where egocentric news anchors stand up and recast the events, searching for their own few minutes of fame. Cynical or not, she's got a point.

Cuts, cuts

I suspect emotions are running high over at Sterling Commerce, which has cut 25 per cent of its staff. Another round of layoffs is expected within a month, one of my spies reports. The company is trying to shed its EDI (electronic data interchange)/FTP heritage and embrace the B2B and EAI (enterprise application integration) markets, which means the company is focused on a product called Sterling Integrator. Apparently IT services company Accenture didn't think much of it during a recent competitive analysis, my spy says. Also, EDI companies such as Sterling have been focused on the Unix and NT platforms, so apparently all the company's mainframe and AS400 people got the axe.

Mystery case

Here's another case of "what's going on over there?" An informant suggests something strange is happening at AT&T Labs. Four top executives recently resigned or retired on the same day. Is this simply a case of a senior executive shakeup, or the beginning of the end?

One company that's not losing money is Microsoft. Apparently Microsofties are walking around the Redmond, Washington campus wearing black shirts that read "Department of Justice - Antitrust Division". My spy says the Justice Department is a big joke for Microsoft staff. I'm glad they see the lighter side, because I think Microsoft should be ashamed. The money wasted chasing Microsoft could have fed a lot of hungry third-world mouths.

And speaking of shame, my e-mail box overfloweth with complaints about bogus rebate offers after I touched on the subject last week. If I published some of them, I'd be calling my lawyer. But keep venting, because unlike the vendors in question, at least I'll read your e-mail. My angry response is this: Cringe's Rebate Shame File. I don't have the money to take them all to small-claims court for you, so instead here are companies with rebate offers you told me to avoid: Compaq notebooks and PCs, Intel (particularly the Pro camera), Microsoft FrontPage, CompUSA (Netgear router in particular), Symantec Norton Anti Virus, Handspring PDA, Sony Vaio notebook, Quicken, Palm M500 series, and Philips CD/RW.

The moral of this story is straightforward: don't buy a product unless you're happy with the initial price.

"Thanks for letting me vent," Amber said after her attack on the media. If that's what you need to do, I'm here for you.

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