Badgers Singing the Blackboard Blues

The kitty recently heard tales from a self-proclaimed insider at IBM who claims that Lou Gerstner's planned departure from Big Blue may not be going as smoothly as he would like.

The kitty recently heard tales from a self-proclaimed insider at IBM who claims that Lou Gerstners planned departure from Big Blue may not be going as smoothly as he would like. According to the tattler, market conditions may be making it harder and harder for Big Lou to hand over the reins to President and COO Sam Palmisano. The tipster also claims that the conjecture at Armonk is that Gerstner wants to increase stockholder value before departing.

The Tabby tattler knew only that the buzz around Big Blue is that Lou may end up staying longer than he intended to mop up any problem that could be attributed to his reign as CEO.

El Gato has also started hearing rumors that business software provider MicroStrategy may be a primo acquisition target for Big Blue. Lending credibility to such speculation, the McLean, Va., company announced last week it will cut 20 percent of its work force. The company will reportedly take a restructuring hit of about $3 million in the wake of cost-cutting measures.

You know that feeling you get when someone runs his fingernails across a blackboard? The Furballs friends at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claim that upgrading Blackboard e-learning software has caused a similarly uncomfortable sensation.

"Weve changed versions here, and it has been rather catastrophic," said an IT worker at the university. "We went into production, and the system sort of came to a halt."

The "upgrade" from Version 4.11 to Version 5.51 was intended to be completed neatly over the summer. Alas, once classes began this fall, the server choked. Blackboard informed the university that it will need to move up to the more robust Level 2 of Version 5.51. The IT folks estimate that move will cost them $80,000. Dealing with this issue resulted in the faculty being unable to effectively make course materials available to students during the first few weeks of school.

"Maybe the faculty should just tell the students that their dog ate their curriculum," laughed the Lynx. "Students understand that."

The Puss is still pondering Gateways recent announcement that it was parting ways with chip maker AMD. Apparently, the PC maker will soon halt sales of its Select line of Athlon-based PCs. Gateway reportedly also plans to rebrand its PCs, replacing the Essential, Performance and Professional brands with the 300, 500 and 700 lines.

"Gee, where else have I seen a product line with model numbers in 300, 500 and 700 ranges?" mused the Mouser. "Whats next? A Dell C class, E class and M class? How would an IBM Seville, DeVille and Eldorado line grab ya? Or maybe a Compaq Continental, Navigator or Roadmaster would be just the ticket? If thats the case, make mine with tail fins."

The Kitty was very amused when he received an announcement that George Shaheen was appointed to the board of directors at Closedloop Solutions. The press release from the business application maker waxed poetically about Georges tenure at Accenture and Siebel but somehow failed to mention his last gig as head honcho of the failed dot-com Webvan. "I imagine it was just an oversight," fretted the Furry One.

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...