NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Thin on the ground at Comdex

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Thin on the ground at Comdex

Viva Las Vegas! Well sort of. I write to you from Comdex, where debate over attendance figures has raged. I won't guess numbers. At first glance, it seemed there were fewer people this year, but the true measure is talking to taxi drivers, who all told me that the average number of fares hardly changed from pre-Comdex levels. What does the future hold for Comdex?

The annual pilgrimage to IT Mecca is not complete without some reassuring words from Bill Gates, who argued that the best is yet to come for the PC industry - something shrouded in mystery. What does Bill do backstage? Hang with the band? In this case, Australian balladeers Bonacci and Wood - as they were billed - were brought all the way up from Downunder to play for the keynote to give it a greater international flavour.

As it turns out, I heard on the grapevine that Gates was so distracted after the show - allegedly by the poor demonstration given by one executive - that he didn't have time to mingle with the duo. Amusingly enough, he also piked on a formal meeting with Australian IT industry representatives scheduled after the show, opting for a walk-and-talk on the way to his car.

Big blues

From one giant to another: a spy reports that the effects of industry consolidation are hitting many workers at IBM who have taken up package-deal exit offers. In addition, word on the street says some business groups at IBM Global Services are merging, or have been axed completely.

The situation has reportedly left a few partners in the dark as some hand-offs by the exiting account reps never took place.

Commerce One is also generating more gossip these days.

In addition to those unfounded and unproven suggestions that SAP would buy Commerce One comes word of some internal repositioning.

My spy says the business unit charged with looking after the catalogue-focused Commerce One Content Refinery solution will soon be spun out from the company.

Intel vs AMD yet again

OK, since many of you keep asking, here's my last (?) word on the subject. I recently wrote about a company conducting tests on two identical CAD machines, the only difference being they ran the two competing processors. They produced visually different results on the CAD program, leading to questions about which processor produced the accurate result. I ran the story past our Test Centre, and the analysts' response was, "it's an inconclusive report".

"I'm still glad to hear you are OK," Amber said when we spoke by phone following the latest airline tragedy. She knew I was fine, but the airline jitters remain. Hang in there, New York.

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