Once again, top executives at the Seattle-based giant feature prominently in the Forbes rich list for 1999. Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates is, of course, still firmly rooted to the number one spot for the third year running with a whopping net worth of $90 billion, up a staggering $39 billion from a year ago. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is at number three with a cool $30 billion, and company president Steve Ballmer occupies the number four spot with a considerable $19.5 billion. 'Ah,' we hear you cry, 'if only we'd had the foresight to invest a few of our hard earned pennies into a little-known start-up 20 years ago.' Indeed, with hindsight, the application of a little entrepreneurial inspiration two decades ago might have yielded a handy little nest egg by now. But then, as we think the above picture aptly demonstrates, it ain't always that easy to differentiate the winners from the losers in life's roulette wheel - especially when you add into the equation the sartorial idiosyncrasies of 70s computer nerds. Would you have invested?
(PC Squealer is offering a prize to any reader who can correctly identify everyone in the above picture, taken at Microsoft in 1978).
If you get a chance to pop along to Networks Telecom '99, then make sure you see the Roke Manor Research's (RMR) stand. These guys are right there on the cutting edge, riding the trendy internet wave and leaving all the other so-called technology companies languishing in its wake. 'So, what are these groundbreakers up to,' we hear you cry? Well, they will unveil the world's first internet-controlled toaster. This is what you have all been waiting for ... and - yes there's an and - RMR is planning on porting the software to allow you to remotely control your fridge, lights, televisions and every other everyday household appliance. Is it just us, or have some people completely lost the plot?
Eyes wide shut
Handling utterly nonsensical marketing waffle is all part of the job here at PC Squealer. Translating meaningless terms such as interoperability, synergy, solution, win-win situation etc into plain English has become so routine that we can do it with our eyes shut (or is that with our non-visual core-competency enhanced? - Ed). But the office has been shocked by the lengths to which some are going to invent increasingly obtuse jargon. 'In terms of market penetration, this is a low-hanging fruit', is a recent example of this disturbing trend (names and addresses have been withheld to protect the identities of the offenders). PC Squealer can barely bring itself to reveal the next one, but we feel that exposing management consultancy PSL as the villain behind FFFF (fifteen fundamental flop-avoidance factors) is absolutely in the interest of the public good. To you we say go and align strategically with the low-hanging fruits of your alimentary canal.
E-commerce for rodents
Regular readers of PC Squealer will be aware of our ongoing fascination with the all-singing, all-dancing rodents at hamsterdance.com. We first introduced you to the adorably funky creatures back in February and since then, we have used the most tenuous of reasons to justify mentioning them time and again. And now, ladies and gents of the channel, we finally have some real news for you. Hamsterdance.com has adopted e-commerce. Yes, after spawning a series of similarly rhythmic sites - such as cowdance.com and angelfire.com/id/hern - those hamsters have regained a competitive edge in cyberspace by establishing The Hampstore Online (http://hampster.merchservices.com/cgi-bin/storehaZELDA.cgi). PC Squealer has already ordered a set of hamsterdance postcards to spread the news to our friends - all four of them - but at $8.95 each, we'll have to ask Santa for a set of six hamsterdance mugs because our budget doesn't stretch that far. It's probably for the best anyway, because all 10 items for sale in The Hampstore Online are already on backorder and the site is experiencing shipping delays 'due to extremely high demand'. We trust our constant, blatant promotion is not to blame.
Albany Software boss Adrian Stafford-Jones comes across as sometimes having his head in the clouds. And he made good use of this tendency recently by gaining a helicopter pilot's licence. Stafford-Jones loves to while away his spare time buzzing around in the skies above London in his little Robinson aircraft. 'It's a great little helicopter,' he told PC Squealer. 'Filling it up with fuel and climbing inside nearly doubles the weight of it.' Well, that sounds nice and safe then. Since gaining his licence, Stafford-Jones has circumnavigated London and flown over Heathrow airport at 800ft. 'I even landed it in my back garden the other week,' he proudly claims. And when he doesn't have time to get into the air, he loves to drive fast cars. Just how much fun is a guy allowed to have?
TIKI-tock goes the clock
The millennium approaches. Lock your doors, nail crooked bits of wood to your windows, go hide in the basement with tins of condensed soup and packets of Ryvita - Armageddon is finally upon us! But hang on - it looks as though there may be a way to survive the year 2000 after all. An advert doing the rounds recently claims to sooth all millennium-related tensions. It's called a TIKI, it's about an inch long and it's made of 'half micron hard gold plate' - whatever that is. Available as a brooch, a necklace and even a keyring, it promises to 'ease the doom and gloom of the millennium bug'. And at just £19.99 (geddit?) it's considerably less than a year 2000 consultant's hourly rate.
Just in case you missed it, Eidos paid one of its directors £4 million last year - which included an mind-boggling £3.8 million bonus. The director in question, Jeremy Heath-Smith was responsible for the creation of the lurverly Lara Croft. If only companies were paying these kind of wages a few years back. Every teenage boy's mind is a raging storm of overactive hormones, but this has usually worn off by ... erm ... perhaps.
Heath-Smith wasn't such a late developer after all and he has given us an excuse to run this pic again.
Chief exec Jens Montanana claims Logicalis performed well despite 'currency headwinds'
All the photos from last night's event, which saw over 600 people congregate at the Hilton London Bankside
Five year deal with Essex NHS Trust will cover 400 sites, including hospitals, clinics and GP practices
18 individuals and three companies walked away as winners at CRN's inaugural Women in Channel Awards last night