Court Cases Take Over Tech Limelight

It's hard to believe, but there are actually interesting events occurring in the technology business besides what is happening in courtrooms.

Its hard to believe, but there are actually interesting events occurring in the technology business besides what is happening in courtrooms. The courts have recently featured two ongoing spectacles.

The action surrounding the proposed merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq has shifted to a courtroom in Wilmington, Del. In that courtroom, the present management of HP and the antagonist and son of the "H" in "HP"—Walter Hewlett—are at odds in trying to decode memos, sales projections and the types of leverage applied just before the merger vote. The essence of the argument is whether the merger was advanced by a win-at-any-cost strategy or by a plan that would be victorious but leave honor intact. For the latest reporting from the scene, go to

Meanwhile in Washington, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, through a combination of tact and bombast, is out to paint a grim future for the software industry should Microsoft be forced to untangle Windows from the rest of the companys software. As someone who has watched this trial unfold over the years, Id say this live, in-person, assertive version of Gates is far superior to the mumbling, videotaped version of the earlier stages of the antitrust trial.

Claiming the software industry would decay into a Hundred Years War of feuding fiefdoms if Windows had to be recast as a simple operating system is stretching reality. But saying the Microsoft development machine would grind to a halt while recasting takes place is also true. Ive got to believe there is some middle ground between the dismantling called for by the states and the contention by Microsoft that Windows cant be tweaked without danger of the collapse of civilization. Again, stick with to catch the latest.

While the courtroom drama is an interesting spectacle, the folks in IT still have to get work done. One area that has required a lot of work and has often proved frustrating has been CRM (customer relationship management). A few years back, CRM was one of those hot areas that many decided they really wanted but few could define what it was. When unreasonable demands meet uncertain goals, you can usually count on losing a lot of time and money. As Peter Coffee outlines in this weeks installment of the IT Agenda ("In Pursuit of a CRM Process"), the next generation of CRM will be less about trying to find a silver bullet and more about building a product that is big in concept but reasonable in implementation.

If the thought of one more CRM project has you trying to remember which Windows folder has your résumé, check out Lisa Vaas story ("It Pays to Be Outstanding") on how to make your résumé stand out on online job boards. There are a lot of tips and tricks to navigating the job boards as well as finding the right board for your posting, and Lisas story can help in your online job quest.

Whats your view on the courtroom sagas? Tell me at