Politics As Usual, Or Maybe Not


The newly renamed Redmond Magazine (formerly MCP Magazine) has an interesting story about how many politically motivated Microsofties have fled across the aisle.

Writes reporter Scott Bekker: "The 1998 election cycle saw Microsoft's federal contributions to Republicans outpacing Democrats 64 percent to 36 percent. The Republican share dipped to 53 percent in 2000 but ballooned back up to 60 percent in 2002. For the 2004 election cycle, at least through late August, the figures are reversed. Democrats got 61 percent of all forms of Microsoft political contributions, and Republicans got 39 percent."

The earlier years of heavier Republican spending came in the midst of the U.S. Justice Department's epic antitrust battle against Microsoft. That would be Democratic President Bill Clinton's Justice Department, that is. Cause and effect? You be the judge.

Hmmm. At least one Microsoft employee, Barry Briggs (a self-proclaimed Republican), took to his Web log to outline his reasons (parts I and II) for changing sides to support Democratic nominee John Kerry over the incumbent.

For other interesting Microsoft reading, take a gander at Cringely's latest column on Burst.com's courtroom battle with the Redmond giant at PBS.org. In another life, I worked with this Cringely (as opposed to the current InfoWorld Cringely), who is probably one of the best--and scariest--writers in the business.

ORACLE'S ROLLER-COASTER PEOPLESOFT BID

Oracle still wants PeopleSoft. Just maybe not for 21 clams-a-share. That's seven-point-something billion, or a lot of shellfish.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison last week indicated the company might cut its offer, words echoed later by Safra Catz, one of his co-presidents.

This news, along with other dirt, is surfacing fast and furious in Delaware Chancery Court, where Oracle is doing its best to overturn PeopleSoft's poison pill defenses.

Ms. Catz indicated, under questioning, that Oracle might slice a third off its offer price based on PeopleSoft's performance over the past year. As we all know now, Oracle's blockbuster bid hurt PeopleSoft's business. Some say PeopleSoft has also had difficulty digesting its own acquisition of J.D. Edwards.

It wouldn't be the first time Oracle adjusted its price. It launched its hostile offer in June 2003 at $16 a share in cold, hard cash. Within weeks, it sweetened it to $19.50. Eight months later, it slathered on another $6.50 to make it $26 a share even. In May, it thought better of it and cut the bid price to $21 per share.

Many pundits still seem to think that what Ellison and Catz are saying is window dressing and Oracle will cough up more dough to make this thing happen. Finally. PeopleSoft itself may be angling for a better deal, in the wake of Craig Conway's quick departure. A PeopleSoft director appeared to leave the door open to a higher offer in his testimony.