NOTES FROM THE FIELD: CEOs take in a load, Ted Waitt hits the road

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: CEOs take in a load, Ted Waitt hits the road

My bad luck with women just continues. Lindsay Lohan isn't returning my voice mails (maybe that Pat O'Brien impersonation was a bad idea). The ex-programmer I met online isn't up for parole until 2008. Even the occasional PR babes I run into look at me like I just hurled on their Manolos - and they're paid to be friendly. Looks like another long, lonely summer.

Valley of the dollars: The San Jose Merc has published the annual salaries for top Silicon Valley CEOs, and it seems they've given themselves a well-deserved raise. Median income in 2004 was about $US760,000, or 26 per cent higher than last year's haul. Of course, $760,000 would barely pay for Terry Semel's valet parking; Yahoo's top dog took home a cool $US231 million in stock options. Bringing up the rear was Apple El Jefe Steve Jobs, who collected a salary of US$1, or just enough to cover the cost of a song on iTunes. (May I suggest Po' Boy Blues?) Barns ennobled: Ted Waitt has finally walked away from the company he started inside a barn 20 years ago. (But not before settling a $US150 million beef with Microsoft over overcharging for Windows license fees.) During his two decades at Gateway, the former chairman and longtime CEO managed to milk a personal fortune estimated at $US1.4 billion. It appears the cows have finally come home.

Young@heart: When Cringester Linda L. tried to check her Hotmail account, Microsoft's Passport service mistook the 50-ish Linda for a 5-year-old and demanded some ID. She had to ask her elderly parents for permission (and a valid credit card number). I've always said using Microsoft products takes years off your life.

Don't make me come over there: The European Commission has given Microsoft a deadline of May 31 to distribute a working version of XP sans Windows Media Player, or face fines of $US5 million a day.

Rivals have claimed that initial versions of Windows XP Home Edition N (as in, No Media Player) are dysfunctional. How could they tell?

Know of any hot gossip and/or women? Send them to and you may get a bag for your troubles.

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