Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Spencer F. Katt yearns for the flamboyant execs of the good old days.

"What ever happened to that crazy ol tech biz gang of mine?" lamented the Lynx. "Remember the good old days, when the players could be more interesting than the products?" Larry Ellison tried to kick up a ruckus last year with his bid to snatch PeopleSoft, but the fireworks fizzled when he got hitched this spring. After receiving a sizable dowry from Microsoft, vocal rival Scott McNealy almost seems ready to elope with Steve Ballmer. "And where are the one-time king and queen of Corel, Michael and Marlen Cowpland?" sobbed the Kitty. "They certainly livened up many a Katt party."

Anyone hoping the new owners of Corel will be as flamboyant as the Cowplands or keep the companys focus on open-source- and Linux-based products may be disappointed. Corel, which was acquired last year by San Francisco-based Vector Capital Group, veered from open source when it abandoned its attempt to create a Linux-based alternative to Microsoft Office by selling its Linux desktop unit to Xandros in 2001.

Last year, Corel moved a mere 60 copies of an updated WordPerfect for Linux, which it sold as a proof-of- concept product on its eBay store for six months. The product is available for purchase and testing through Corels e-store for $25.

As he wept in his beer for the tech personalities and antics of yore, the Kitty noted that Zim, Michael Cowplands SMS messaging company, seems to be bearing fruit. And, if the myopic Mousers baby blues dont deceive him, it appears to be the lovely Mrs. Cowpland herself physically chained to what some critics had earlier dubbed "the poor mans BlackBerry" on the companys home page. "Me-ouch," purred the Puss.

The Kittys reverie was broken by a call from a security-minded pal, who claimed that the long-rumored acquisition of vulnerability management player Foundstone by Network Associates is dead. Word has it that NAI is starting to focus on cost cutting. As Spence bid his pal adieu, he suddenly remembered that another player from the Great White North, Cognos Chairman Ron Zambonini, is a tech bigwig who still knows how to keep things lively. The Scottish-born Zambonini, who once wore a tartan nightshirt while presenting an earnings report, recently accepted a bottle of Scotch to mark a temporary truce from his longtime rival Bernard Liautaud, CEO of Business Objects, at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit.

The bottle sported a faux label with caricatures of the CEOs to note the 14-year rivalry between the two companies. "Ron should have rewarded Liautaud with his old tartan nightie," cackled 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...