Harvard Fails Dell Over Price Haggling

SAS Institute appears to be enjoying life as a private company, hiring employees by the hundreds.

SAS Institute appears to be enjoying life as a private company, hiring employees by the hundreds, while its publicly traded competitors seem to announce layoffs in similar numbers.

But the Tabby has heard that the Cary, N.C., business intelligence software vendor may wish it had the assets of a public company. Thats because it came up a few dollars short when it tried to acquire marketing automation software company Ceres, according to a Katt crony. Instead, SAS settled for a small British company called Intrinsic.

Although Ceres is conveniently located down the road apiece from SAS, in Raleigh, N.C., founder Peter Heffring reportedly turned down an all-cash offer from his neighbors. The tipster claims Heffring opted instead for a cash-and-stock deal from publicly traded NCR last year. Ceres was then absorbed into the Teradata division of NCR.

Heffring evidently got what he wanted; he now heads Teradata CRM, and El Gato hears that the NCR stock he picked up in the deal has done quite nicely.

"Collecting Pokemon cards is more profitable than some of the stock choices Ive made," fretted the financially challenged Furball.

Just as HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina announced last week that she would not sell boxes without profit just to gain market share, a little bird was telling Spencer that HP may have taken the current economy into consideration while planning its upcoming products.

According to the tattler, HP is set to announce software deployment solutions that may actually automate many tasks and help shoulder the burden recently foisted on many downsized IT departments. The tipster told the Katt that HP plans to unveil its software along with a new high-performance monitor and other desktop sundries at PC Expo.

HP has publicly stated that it expects the PC price wars to escalate, and the Kitty has heard similar rumblings from the trenches. A noted Cambridgite told Spencer the powers that be at Harvard were so unhappy about price haggling with Dell that theyve decided not to do business with the Round Rock, Texas, PC maker. In fact, the tipster claims that the school was so put off over pricing issues that a memo went out across the board telling everyone in the hallowed halls not to plan any future purchases from the company.

B2B provider VerticalNet, in its third round of editorial layoffs, may now be employing only a single editor. The e-commerce solutions group once employed 50 to 60 editors to handle content on the various marketplace sites the company maintained. Last week, the company said goodbye to nine out of its last 10 surviving editors. A friend of the Furball said a contractual situation may have saved the sole surviving editorial position at the beleaguered company.

Never one to find amusement in the fact that a companys finances may be in jeopardy, Spencer still had to chuckle when a Furball fan forwarded him PSINets Chapter 11 notice. Although the note from company CEO Harry Hobbs states that the Web hosting company will continue to meet customers and vendors ongoing needs, the return address on the e-mail announcement says, "From: nobody @psi.com."

"I guess nobody knows the trouble theyve seen," quipped the Kitty.

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...