Back to the Future for IBM and Gateway?

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2002-11-04

As The Mouser slipped out of a mind-numbing slide show about "On Demand" computing during IBMs event at the Museum of Natural History, in New York, he stared at the large war canoe by the entrance, and it dawned on him that the most striking characteristic of the new Big Blue is ... red. Sam Palmisano and sales sidekick Mike Lawrie took the stage at last weeks gathering sporting blood-red, "Dont mess with me" power ties. The Kitty felt a strong vibe that the IBMsters in the front row would soon chuck their goofy multilogo golf shirts and charge down Fifth Avenue to buy a tie redder than Sams—plus a navy-blue, Eisenhower-era suit to complete the time warp.

And El Gatos views of On Demand computing? "Guess its better than the last few years, which were basically the era of no-demand computing," mumbled Spencer, before wandering down to the Black Duck to mind-meld with his Belgian pal Stella Artois.

At the bar, a Katt crony whispered to Spencer that Lotus Domino may soon be a faded memory. IBMs Lotus Software division reportedly plans to change the Domino brand to the catchy WebSphere Collaborative Server as of the 7.0 release of Domino, expected in 2004. Lotus officials deny the report, saying no branding decision has been made yet. "When ya compare the two names, ya gotta admit Domino delivers," guffawed the Grimalkin as his companion politely smiled and quickly changed the subject.

"Ive also heard that BMC may be scoping out Marimba for acquisition," said the Furry Ones friend. "BMC is weak in software distribution, and if it wants to go head-to-head with Tivoli—which has a stronghold in that arena—snatching the troubled Marimba makes sense."

While the Furball tossed back a few more, he also chatted with a country boy who said hed heard that major Gateway investors—including Gateway Chairman Ted Waitt—may be discussing buying out the company and taking it private. The Tabby tattler said Gateway insiders believe the company could escape dealing with poor quarterly reports and the resulting bad press and be able to regain its footing if it went private.

Ted owns more than 30 percent of the company, so his involvement in a buyout is a must, the tipster said. While Gateways hurting, its got about $1 billion in cash and support from major lenders. Considering the companys relatively low stock price, Spencer agreed that going private may not be that risky a move.

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