Tackling Delays, Buyouts, Rivals and Resignations

The resignation of Steve Case may not be the only sign of a shake-up at AOL.

The resignation of Steve Case may not be the only sign of a shake-up at AOL. El Gato heard that the company has put Gotham, the ad agency for its Internet unit, on notice. Having run with Gotham for more than eight years, AOLs newly appointed executive vice president of brand marketing, Leonard Short, apparently figures its time to explore new agencies. "Hopefully, one that doesnt plan on stuffing free AOL disks in everything from the Sunday paper to my Capn Crunch cereal box," laughed the Lynx. But dont cry for Gotham; its planning yet another Shatner-driven media assault for a different client: Priceline.com.

According to whispers among some industry reps and distributors, Microsoft may have indefinitely delayed plans to release its Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth. The tattlers claimed that beta testers may have encountered mondo incompatibility problems, but no official word on the status of the product has been given.

Several tattlers told Spencer that BEA Systems may be putting itself on the block—or is at least dropping hints to that effect. The tipsters assumed that the rumors are an effort by the infrastructure software maker to raise its stock price or an attempt to see if anyone has an interest.

The Katt thinks Avid must be pretty p.o.d at Apple, ever since Jobs & Co. announced plans to release a free version of Final Cut Express. Avids products, such as Final Cut and xPress, usually cost users about $600 apiece.

But what really has Avid steamed is the similar naming of the Apple product and the fact that Apple didnt alert anyone before the announcement, tipsters said. Avid has announced a free, yet somewhat-scaled-back offering of xPress.

Customers of security vendor Recourse Technologies, a part of Symantec, are griping that company reps are being heavy-handed in their efforts to get users to migrate to products from another Symantec company, Riptech. Apparently, users arent warming up to the migration idea fast enough for Symantec.

In addition, the Katt heard that employees at Riptech and Security Focus (also a Symantec company) have begun jumping ship, upset with their new parent companys foot dragging on product integration. None of the top guys has jumped ship so far, however. "Maybe they should get Shatner to help promote them," Spencer chuckled. "He could just keep singing the words Riptech and Symantec over and over to the tune of Incense and Peppermints."

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...