Where do you want to go today? Microsoft's infamous phrase has never held more true - particularly for Microsoft itself. The good old faces you've all known and loved have new job titles while the ones who don't have jobs any more seem to have disappeared without trace. Anne Mitchard, for instance, the face which launched DOS 5.0 and preached the message that MS had already sold enough copies to form a stepladder from here to the Moon, has a new job.
Her new role is to tell the world about Windows NT 4.0 and after that Windows NT 5.0 while still attempting to convince everyone that Windows 95 is the shape of things to come. Meanwhile, welcome to Simon Witts, who now manages to combine a healthy interest in outdoor sport a la Euro 96 with an equally strenuous attempt to persuade the corporate world Back Office is the way to go.
Catherine Pullan is a well known industry figure. She loves her horses and when Interquad seemed not to be giving her enough rein, she got on her bike and left for a holiday abroad. Where would she emerge? the whole channel wondered.
In the end, she popped up at Norwood Adam, the up-and-coming value added distributor which has just launched a brand spanking new networking division. She'll recruit three people and is looking, hungrily, for star vendors to propel the company into the stratosphere.
That might not help sales and marketing executive Manny Pinon, of the same company. Described by one channel hackette as a 'foxy geezer' he may now find it hard to keep the profile of his company quite as unashamedly laddish as it was.
The world is contracting and accounting is contracting with it too. So thinks Terry McDonald, ebullient MD of Oracle distributor Sphinx Level V. The Internet will make money but Terry thinks it likely that we'll have to wait a bit before it all happens. In the meantime, Sphinx will plug on with its Oracle distributorship. By the time you read this, perhaps dapper Tony Rose, now special projects manager at Oracle, will have told the world who the second distributor is.
When Shiva, known for being a famous Hindu god and also networking company, took over Spider, the famous arachnid and also networking company, the bods from the States confronted Tom Macbeth with what seemed, at first, an uncomfortable question. "Tom," said Frank Ingari, CEO of Shiva, "would you care to describe the difference between your culture and our culture." Tom's reply was typically pithy. "The Scots have a culture and Americans don't," he said.
Incidentally, the name of Wang's latest help desk project is Wang Care.
And when Siemens Nixdorf moved to Staines? No, can't write that, this is the family magazine for Vars.
Just take your eyes off the AIX division of IBM and before you know where you are they've all moved again. Goodbye then, to Paul Slinger, channels programme manager, who now works for Robert Youngjohns over at Sun. Now didn't Robert used to work for IBM as well? Looks like we can expect to see some street fighting there over the next couple of months.
Talking about IBM, Mike Lunch, who heads the IBM PC Company in the UK, is looking happier than ever. Not only has he managed to dislodge Olivetti's virtual grip on the Radio Rentals PC franchise, Dataquest figures show him making inroads against Compaq on the commercial desktop and server front. Whether that worries the rather tight-lipped Compaq it's hard to figure out. One thing is for sure, the introduction of a new division devoted to workstations is an attempt to fight off both Sun and Big Blue.
We'd all love to be able to forget all about those little things with lots of legs which sit in the corner of our PCs, wouldn't we? No, not spiders. Chips. This year has been one of the weirdest as far as pricing is concerned. First of all, the price of memory plunges to such an extent that if you were a distributor and you had any in stock you are probably by this time bankrupt.
Secondly, Intel has relentlessly pursued its policy of cutting prices on existing models and introducing new ones to outwit OEMs, Vars, competitors and end users. That has put plucky little Cyrix and also the rather beefier AMD on the spot. Cyrix now looks as though it could be the target of a takeover but AMD won't be able to afford it. It's had to borrow half a billion dollars just to be able to service its existing debts. Who'd be a chip manufacturer? Intel would, that's for sure. It makes a whopping 50 per cent margin on its processors. Returning in a full circle, that cheeses off Microsoft too. It only makes something like 17 per cent gross on a PC box. Would that Vars had half the chance to do so well.
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