When does a Katt feel at ease in a mouse house? When hes at Walt Disney World to attend the Gartner Symposium/ ITxpo, of course. The consultancy offered the symposiums estimated 6,000 attendees a prediction of solid growth in tech spending for next year, a message that seemed as upbeat as that of the nearby Magic Quadrant, er, Kingdom. Of course, Mickeys theme park message doesnt also include continued cost cutting or outsourcing Donalds and Goofys jobs to make the wish come true—but what the heck.
How much does Gartner value its clients? One Katt crony claimed that the saying "Bad breath is better than no breath" was sometimes used by insiders at Gartner when discussing sales and getting face time with potential customers. "Me-ouch!" thought Spence as he popped another Altoid.
At keynote time, the Kittys curiosity was aroused when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned the possible upcoming acquisition of an unnamed software company to provide Redmond with XML management capabilities for Web services. "You should stand by for news," said Ballmer.
Le Chat chuckled when HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina riled the Big Blue bunch during her keynote by claiming she declined to purchase PricewaterhouseCoopers eight times, including for $3 billion a week before IBM coughed up $3.5 billion for the consultancy. One IBM exec, still grumbling the next morning, called Fiorinas tale "the Pinocchio story of the week." The Katt did recall a July 2002 Forbes report that claimed IBM grabbed PwC for about one-quarter the price HP had previously negotiated to pay for the company.
The symposium press room seemed more like Splash Mountain when a busted pipe sent water across the ceiling, dousing at least one reporter. Seeking drier ground and something to wet his whistle, the famished Furball made his way to Shulas Steak House in—where else?—the Dolphin. Instead of arguing football, the gridiron-grokking Grimalkin talked shop with a Computer Associates insider, who claimed that since CFO Ira Zar and several others had been axed for "accounting irregularities," folks in the companys accounting/finance arm wonder nervously if more heads will roll.
Just as the Tawny Titan was about to turn in for the evening, he got a call from a bookish buddy touting Melanie Crafts third novel, due in May. The authors Web site says the book is called "Man Trouble" and concerns a romance authors attempt to make a family man out of a billionaire playboy whose "bad-boy image is losing its luster." One can ask if Crafts real-life fiancé, Oracle boss Larry Ellison, wonders where she finds such characters.