NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Fresh layoff rumours abound

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Fresh layoff rumours abound

Come on, get off your butt," Amber complained. As America enjoyed the Labor Day weekend, we spent the time bumming around the San Francisco Bay area. I even took the week off work in sympathy for all my unemployed friends. Sorry if you, missed last week's posting, but you should have been on holiday, too.

More layoffs?

No, not me thankfully. The IT vendor community's penchant for pink slips means plenty of redundant techies also spent their vacation doing very little. Now we're faced with as many as 15,000 more folks gone from HP/Compaq. But that's old news. What we're waiting for is confirmation of rumours in the Valley that Dell will buy Gateway soon, giving the online recruiters even more business.

Most interesting, from my point of view, is that HP's unexpected antics have fuelled a fresh round of merger whispers.

The one I really like suggests IBM is back in negotiations with Apple. You might recall 1991, when the two set up the joint ventures called Taligent, to develop a cross-platform operating system named Pink, and Kaleida, to design set-top boxes and related software. But these failed and were history by 1994.

"Apple needs the money and IBM needs the market share. IBM will run it just like Lotus," my source claims of the merger talks. Is my source off the wall? Let me know.

Network Solutions still unpopular

Meanwhile, I wouldn't mind seeing a few layoffs over at domain-name bogey Network Solutions, if the flood of reader e-mails I've received is any sign of its bad attitude. You will recall I attacked it in my last column on behalf of a string of readers complaining about unauthorised credit card charges, among other suspect practices.

Most recently, a reader forwarded me correspondence indicating Network Solutions ignored his e-mails in order to dodge a confirmed request to change the official registrar of his site to Melbourne IT. I hope ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) comes knocking. All I can say is start getting heavy with your credit card providers to fight back against unauthorised bills. Send me your complaints and I'll keep hounding Network Solutions.

Pricey XP

Finally, I had to laugh at CompUSA's obvious online blunder last weekend (told you I was sitting on my butt). It listed a special pre-order upgrade price for Microsoft Windows XP Professional at $US1025.01. Someone has since wakened to change it to $199.99.

"I'll make dinner tonight," Amber offered during our second all-night video marathon. "What's the number for pizza again?" she smiled. Forget the cholesterol, this is too good.

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