Look Whos Talking: May 28, 2001

The latest chatter on the partner front

Drew Major may have lost his magic touch. When I spoke with the father of NetWare earlier this year, Major was very upbeat about his new assignment as CTO of Volera, a Novell spin-off. But Voleras caching business hasnt taken off, and questions are surfacing about the companys viability.

With roughly $2 million in quarterly revenue, Volera isnt emerging as an industry heavyweight. Voleras caching relationships with Compaq and Dell havent lived up to expectations, but expanded partnerships with IBM and NetIQ could provide some relief. If not, Major may need to go back to the drawing board.

Did Safeguard Scientifics, the venture-capital firm, secretly push Novell and Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP) to get married? Its no secret that Safeguard has investments in both Novell and CTP. A source close to Novell says the merger with CTP is nothing more than a secret move by Safeguard to consolidate its investments. Novell CEO Eric Schmidt, however, insists that the merger was his idea.

Razorfish, the Internet consulting firm, is hurting badly these days, but it did enjoy a small victory last week, when a U.S. District Court dismissed a class-action lawsuit against the company. The court criticized the stock-related lawsuit as "lawyer-driven." Im no legal expert, but that sounds pretty darn accurate to me.

If you believe all the press releases, there are no losers in the database wars between IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Each company declared victory last week, after Gartner Group Dataquest released a research report recapping database sales for 2000. All three firms gained market share last year. For the record, Gartner Group says Oracle leads the overall database market, with IBM a close second and Microsoft a distant third—except in the Windows NT database world, where Bill Gates is now the leader.

Oracle was quick to note that Metro Foundation Supply, a building materials supplier, recently dumped its Informix database in favor of an Oracle-based system. The news was a direct attack on IBM, which recently acquired Informixs database business.

My staff is beginning to notice that most of my frequent-flier miles involve trips to Disney World. Can I help it if CA World is in Orlando?