Uh, Gee, Thank You, Mr. Wyly

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2002-07-29 Print this article Print

There's a chance that CA might actually be better to deal with.

Who was that masked man, anyway?"

"I dont know. And I wanted to thank him."

That was the typical type of ending to an episode in "The Lone Ranger" television series. So now that Sam Wyly and his Ranger Governance are riding off into the sunset, the question remains, Do we want to thank them?

Even CA President and CEO Sanjay Kumar was doing almost that when he acknowledged positive changes in CA governance resulted from Wylys proxy battles this year and last. But Kumars phrasing came in a statement the wording of which was no doubt part of the agreement giving Wyly $10 million to go away and stay away for five years. I dont recall the Lone Ranger taking money for his services.

Kumar also told shareholders in a proxy statement that it was a bargain because a proxy fight would have cost as much as $15 million. Last year, CA spent about $12 million fighting Wyly. Over two years, that comes to $22 million that could have been spent on R&D, customer support or distributions to shareholders. But how does the user community feel? One of the purported reasons for the Wyly assault was to save users from an allegedly abusive vendor. $22 million may be worth it if CA really has gotten religion on customer service and support.

Only a month ago, Steve Perkins of Ranger was saying that CA customers were disaffected and that several were on the verge of jumping ship. Now, Perkins tells me that his mind has changed. He sees the good works of CAs Customer Relations Organization and is convinced that new outside board members will hold CAs feet to the fire.

A $10 million payment can cause people to see things in new ways, I guess. But theres at least a chance that as a by-product of all this, CA might actually be better to deal with. CA said its polls show that its improving. Ill ask you: Is it?

Tell me: Better or not better? Ive cleared room in my in-box, so fire away to stan_gibson@ziffdavis.com.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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