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The IT year in quotes

The IT year in quotes

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK

"I'm thrilled not to have to be CEO anymore. That was a temporary thing that I took on about 22 years ago." - Scott McNealy on handing over Sun Microsystems CEO honours to ponytailed whippersnapper, Jonathan Schwartz. McNealy appeared upbeat despite having failed to fully reverse the company's poor financial performance. (May 19).

"The world has had a tendency to focus a disproportionate amount of attention on me." - Bill Gates, claiming he won't be missed all that much as he steps away from his daily chief software architect role at Microsoft come July 2008 to focus on his charity organisation. Gates will remain as company chairman "indefinitely". (June 15).

COULD'VE, WOULD'VE, SHOULD'VE ... DIDN'T

"If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently." - Patricia Dunn, HP's former chairman, testifying before a US Congress subcommittee about those techniques CEO, Mark Hurd didn't bother to look into, which included pretexting. Forced out of HP in the wake of the spy scandal, Dunn continues to maintain the methods were legal. She was assured of their legality by HP's own lawyers. (September 28).

"I understand there is also a written report of the investigation addressed to me and others, but I did not read it. I could have, and I should have." - Mark Hurd, HP's embattled CEO, stating the obvious over his failure to peruse key information describing the company's bizarre attempts to unearth the source who leaked board-level confidences. (September 22).

THAT COMPETITIVE SPIRIT

"We will compete like gentlemen. We'll come in with swords, not bombs and guns, and fence." - Shai Agassi, president of SAP's product and technology group, describing how the vendor is balancing a desire to stomp all over Microsoft in the small to midsize business (SMB) applications market while simultaneously cuddling up to the Redmond Rampager to make sweet music around their joint Duet product. (May 22).

"This is capitalism; we're competing." - Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, giving his spin on why his company is offering "enterprise support" for Red Hat's Linux distribution; other than push down Red Hat's share price and potentially put the vendor out of business that is. (October 25).

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

"I think my response was 'What idiot dreamed this up?' " - Mary Ann Davidson, Oracle's chief security officer, in typical blunt manner, remembering her reaction to the company's scheme to brand its databases as "unbreakable". (May 25).

"Anybody [in the Internet space] who wasn't interested in YouTube was either asleep or not being honest." - Jonathan Miller, AOL chairman and CEO, regretting that Google, not his company, bought the video-sharing start-up. Less than a week later, Miller was out of a job as Time Warner replaced him with veteran television executive, Randy Falco. Could the two events, perchance, be related? (November 9).

SURE, WE LOVE LINUX, WE JUST LOVE WINDOWS MORE

"I prefer to be an optimist, and will happily take the option that not everybody needs to be enemies." - Mr. Maverick himself, Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, with his sunny take on Microsoft/Novell, at odds with the disgust voiced by many in the open-source community with the Suse distributor. (November 2).

"If you want something, I'm still going to tell you [to buy] Windows, Windows, Windows." - Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, aiming to "bridge the divide" between open-source and proprietary software with a surprise Novell partnership. Sounds like he hasn't got that whole co-opetition thing straight yet, ditto on what the whole lovefest means for patents, with the vendors differing on their interpretations of what the deal will mean. (November 2).

THE BATTERIES AND THE BEES

"It's kind of like impregnating someone. It only takes one, so the more of them there are, the more likely that you'll impregnate someone." - Rick Clancy, a Sony spokesperson, indulging in some plain speaking as to how short circuits caused by microscopic metal particles in the vendor's lithium ion batteries led to a handful of laptops catching fire. The result? A series of major recalls of millions of Sony batteries. (August 15).

TOUCHING EVIL

"We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil." - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, about the yearlong soul-searching process that the company went through before deciding to offer a censored version of its services in China. Google famously espouses the "don't be evil" credo. (January 27).

SLICING OFF THE FAT

"We had become bloated. It's like middle-age spread. You don't know how it happens, but one day you look down and it's there." - Donald MacDonald, vice-president and general manager of Intel's digital home group, as he patted his belly, graphically describing the chip giant's attempts to slim down its 100,000-strong work force. (July 18).

Paul Krill and Jim Dalrymple contributed to this story.


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