Look Whos Talking: March 26, 2001

Hi ho, hi ho, it's out the door they go! That's an exaggeration, but plenty of companies are bragging about hiring Oracle veterans.

Hi ho, hi ho, its out the door they go! Thats an exaggeration, but plenty of companies are bragging about hiring Oracle veterans.

The latest culprit is content manager Trapezo, which has hired Doug Roseborough as COO. The headline in Trapezos press release says Roseborough is a "seasoned Oracle executive."

At first glance, you might think that Roseborough jumped directly from Oracle to Trapezo. On the contrary, he most recently worked for two little-known Web companies. Trapezos press release eventually gets around to mentioning that, but its not fair to suggest that Oracles loss is Trapezos gain.

> Still, heres a tidbit that certainly wont please Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. His former company president, Ray Lane, will be a guest speaker at an upcoming J.D. Edwards conference. Thats like Michael Jordan coming off the bench to shoot free throws for the Knicks.

> Morgan Stanley and Ariba are accused of manipulating Aribas IPO day back in 1999. Im not passing judgment on this case, but shareholders certainly would welcome a little "upside manipulation" right about now. Aribas stock, like many of those in the tech sector, is trading near a 52-week low.

> Hows this for a sign of the times? MarchFirst shares are trading for 25 cents each, and people are still shorting the stock.

> An Exodus director recently exercised and sold 40,000 options. The strike price was $16.02 and the sell price was $19.44, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. In other words, the director pocketed only $3.42 per share, a very small spread (and a bearish move) in any economic climate. When insiders start buying and holding, youll know that business finally is on the rebound.

> Ive got to tip my hat to the people over at Forbes magazine. The latest issue told readers to short-sell Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) because of several red flags in recent company earnings statements. The week the story was published, CSC issued an earnings warning and the stock fell nearly 50 percent in a single day.

> Cisco CEO John Chambers made the right call on 3Com. About two years ago, Chambers told us that 3Com would have a difficult time generating profits with its "edge" strategy, which depended on low-margin devices like the Audrey Internet appliance. 3Com disclosed a big Q3 loss last week and killed Audrey on the spot. No autopsy is planned.