Cant we all just get along,” laughed the Lynx as he watched the public battles being waged almost everywhere he looked last week. Although none were as ugly as Mike Tysons psychotic episode at a New York press conference (cant someone get this guy some meds?), they were ugly just the same.
El Gato nearly coughed up a furball when AOL Time Warner—taking a break from squashing rumors that it may buy Linux distributor Red Hat—filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft on behalf of its Netscape division. “Clearly,” mused the Mouser, “we are witnessing just the first salvo in a battle that will eventually go beyond this rehashing of the browser wars, until it grows into an epic public struggle between the two titans to see wholl control the shaky broadband industry and win full control of our living rooms.”
While pondering the Netscape-Microsoft dispute, El Gato noted that Netscape co-founder Jim Clark is backing a startup, a VPN provider called Neoteris. The company hopes to lure businesses with a simpler method of providing employees access to company networks.
But, paws down, the most publicly “Katty” dispute peered at by the pugilistic Puss popped up in The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday. David Packard purchased a full-page ad in the paper to condemn HP bigwig Carly Fiorina for running an ad that touted the HP-Compaq proposed merger. Packard claimed Fiorinas ad “misappropriates” a quote from his late father to pitch her spin. Under a huge headline stating, “There You Go Again!” the P.O.d Packard took issue with Fiorinas use of the elder Packards words, “To remain static is to lose ground.”
“As a professional marketer you know how to enhance your message by invoking the image of an admired person. But my fathers quote has no relevance to your argument,” blasted the ad, written by Packard.
The Reaganesque rebuttal soon lost steam and turned into a tepid tirade. Packard, the younger, ends his pricey protest with, “You recall another one of my fathers favorite sayings: More companies die of indigestion than starvation. There is now real danger that HP will die of a broken heart.”
Whew. No matter where you stand on the HP-Compaq merger, you have to admit that big-business battles sure arent the same in the new millennium.
The Kitty had a hard time envisioning the cattle barons, railroad men and oil tycoons of yesteryear complaining that their business would die of heartbreak, let alone agita.
Spencer F. Katt can be reached at [email protected].