Response Time: Love That Mail!

I was expecting a flood of e-mail, but all I got was a trickle.

Either everyone out there has been laid off, or everyone is on vacation. The response to my recent e-mail solicitation (yes, I expect you to read the tag line at the end of the column) regarding Computer Associates was so extraordinarily light I began to wonder if our IT folks had installed a flame-mail filter. Heck, I got many more missives when I mused on the size limit of things blue: IBM and whales.

So while I was expecting a flood of mail in response to my question on whether Sam Wylys proxy battles had made CA more responsive to customers, all I got was a trickle. Two messages were thumbs down; one was thumbs up. (Really, there were only three—a new low!) Thats hardly a scientific sample, and I would not extrapolate to say two out of three CA customers are disappointed. However, this much I can say: People have made up their minds about CA one way or another; theres little middle ground. That was true before the proxy battles and remains true.

Maybe there werent more letters regarding CA because the mailbag was still full of letters I got in June about a column of unsolicited advice I offered Sun. The company, like many people, doesnt like unsolicited advice, and Scott McNealy doesnt like to be compared to Ken Olsen, head of the old Digital Equipment. But many readers saw truth in the analogy, and readers, Ive found (especially when they agree with me), are usually right.

If further proof were necessary, Sun has now turned up the rhetorical pitch against Itanium, which its execs call "an expensive disaster." Talk about unsolicited advice. Somehow, pointing out the strong points of your product, rather than warning us against the evils of buying a competitors, engenders more confidence in what you are trying to sell.

But thats just me. Maybe you need guidance from Sun with regard to your Itanium purchases. Let me know at