Kitty Gets Jiggy in Fog City

Uncertainty surrounds BEA and TomorrowNow; Dell stages a "scoop."

The Kitty was back on the foggy streets of San Francisco trawling for tips in the citys bistros and coffee shops. Before getting down to serious business, however, the tippling Tabby spent an evening at Bix, a supper club near Jackson Square, where he sampled a glass or so of absinthe, the seductive green liquor that is making a stylish comeback in the States. But there was nothing stylish about Spencers hangover in the morning as he gamely shook off the mental cobwebs and headed to a coffee shop in search of news and a double espresso.

The suffering Katt perked up when a tipster told him that the uncertainty about BEA Systems future has prompted execs and salespeople to start shopping their resumes around Silicon Valley. Its not just the buyout impasse with Oracle that has some sales execs nervous, the tipster averred. Another concern is that BEA hasnt done an ideal job of integrating recent corporate acquisitions. One example is the Fuego software that BEA acquired in October 2006 for $87 million. BEA has a separate sales staff pitching the Fuego software to the same customers buying BEAs AquaLogic products. But the AquaLogic sales staff is getting more than a little territorial about the newcomers treading on their turf. The result has been less than friendly competition that has done nothing to help sales or staff morale, the tipster said.

The bilious Bobcat was searching for some bicarbonate to settle his stomach when his BlackBerry pinged with the news that several TomorrowNow senior executives, including the CEO, had resigned. TomorrowNows owner, SAP, says its "considering several options" including a possible sale of the company. TomorrowNow is embroiled in a federal lawsuit filed by Oracle charging patent infringement and fraud. "Its going to take more than a few executive resignations to soothe Oracles ire," thought the learned Lynx. SAP is clearly looking for a quick way to settle this suit. Maybe Oracle will agree to take the hapless TomorrowNow off SAPs hands as part of the settlement.

The peckish Puss appetite returned by evening. So he headed to the Cortez restaurant in San Francisco, where he got a demonstration of just how Michael Dell & Co. micromanage the media.

Rick Becker, Dell Product Group vice president of solutions, was briefing a small band of scribes about the companys future virtualization strategy when his cell phone rang. "Um, Id better take this," Becker said, with that "uh-oh, the boss is calling" look on his face. Becker returned shortly and confirmed it. "It was Michael," he said. "He says to say hi to everyone and that Dell will announce a new deal with Sun tomorrow [at Oracle OpenWorld] that will mean that Solaris and OpenSolaris for the first time will be certified to run on our application and storage servers. So you have a scoop."

Rolling his suspicious blue eyes, the Kitty wondered why Dell felt compelled to stage the little charade. The reporters wouldnt have needed a real or faked phone call from the CEO to convince them that the Solaris deal was big news. The dinner would have been sufficient. Spencer had arrived at the restaurant hungry. He left queasy.

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...