This eWEEK: July 28, 2003

In their willingness to pay top dollar for top talent, Bill Gates and George Steinbrenner have a lot in common.

In their willingness to pay top dollar for top talent, Bill Gates and George Steinbrenner have a lot in common. They also have a tradition of winning that brings out resentment from frustrated opponents. Some see in Microsofts current hiring push, reported by Darryl Taft, an attempt to corner the market for programming talent, just as some investors once tried to corner the market for gold. I dont think so. Its just smart management to hire the best, and Microsoft has been doing it for some time. Dave Cutler, the creator of Windows NT, and Jim Allchin, the father of Active Directory, are both examples of earlier strategic hires. Right now, Microsoft has a need—Web services experts—and there are people available in the market. You could look it up in Adam Smith.

In the minds of many industry leaders and Wall Street analysts, maturity is the same as death. By any measure, the ERP software market is mature. But its not so clear that its dead. In a recent report, AMR Research notes the market had zero growth in 2002 but is set to resume moderate growth until 2007 (see chart). Theyll do this, as Renee Ferguson reports, by squeezing sales from current users and buying up competitors.

While the big boys may be consolidating, there is plenty going on in the small and midsize business market. As Renee reports, Icode is readying an upgrade to its Everest ERP suite for midsize companies while Deltek is also preparing enhancements.

Michael Caton, in his first review since returning to eWEEK, says small and medium-size businesses ought to consider Everest, although they will need to spend some time and effort adapting to it. He says theres a huge opportunity for an easy-to-use package in this market. Is anybody listening?

Finally, we welcome columnist Brian Livingston, whose column, Known Issues, will appear every other week. eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant will take over the Scaling IT column in alternate weeks.

Brian brings 30 years as a computer manager and tech journalist to the table.

Read his column to find out just what happened to the former Microsoft Web site known as hardware-update.com.

Till next eWEEK, send your comments to stan_gibson@ziffdavis.com.