ShadowRAM: August 12, 2002

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    Golf Digest reports that Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy cut his handicap by three strokes this year. That means he's just about a scratch golfer. With McNealy's handicap now at around zero and Sun's stock price heading that way, we wonder: Is there is any correlation between the amount of time a CEO plays golf and the performance of his company?

    Meanwhile, Sun is jumping into the Linux market fast. So fast, in fact, that it seems to have skipped four generations,or at least release versions,in its effort to be ready today. Sun this week is announcing the Sun LX50, the first Sun system to feature Sun Linux 5.0.

    Actually, the explanation is simple. It's easy to forget Sun has actually been doing Linux for some time,ever since it acquired server appliance maker Cobalt. Sun Linux versions 1 through 4 were developed by the Cobalt folks, who were also part of the 5.0 development, a Sun spokesperson confirmed. We'd wager good money in a guess that it wasn't called Sun Linux back in the pre-Sun days, though, so the surprise isn't totally unwarranted.

    While we're on the subject, check out the title for McNealy's keynote at LinuxWorld: "The Role Of Linux In A Capitalist Society." Maybe it should be titled, "How Capitalism Forced Sun To Embrace Linux."

    Why is it that Chile is becoming such a hot summer vacation spot? Unless we weren't paying attention in high school geography class, it's winter down there now. Just last week, we talked to one IBM exec who had just returned from a skiing and snowboarding trip in Chile. And now we hear that Tech Data's Steve Raymund was also touring the South American country.

    IBM is taking some heat for its plan to continue to use PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit its books in the wake of its proposed acquisition of PwC Consulting.

    New York Comptroller H. Carl McCall, who is running for governor, says the decision to keep PwC as IBM's auditor raises questions about the future validity of its audits. IBM has staunchly defended the ongoing relationship, as has the SEC's chief accountant, Robert Herdman.

    In yet another sign that the dot-com boom is the dot-com bomb, onetime high-flying Internet player CMGI gave up naming rights to the new home of Super Bowl XXXVI Champions, the New England Patriots. The new corporate sponsor, however, isn't a technology company. It's Gillette.

    High-tech companies could learn a lesson from Gillette. The company essentially gives away its razors and makes most of its money on the blades. But then again, that's sort of what Hewlett-Packard does with printers and ink.

    Speaking of HP, distributors and solution providers alike have a keen interest in the future of Compaq's old Partner Direct program. That's the program under which solution providers got better pricing if they bought product directly from Compaq instead of via distributors. Compaq would then ship the product directly to the solution provider's customer, in essence making an end run around distributors.

    Most folks in the channel didn't like the program because Compaq screwed up many of their orders. And, of course, distributors were less than thrilled to see a vendor partner try to build an infrastructure that already existed in the channel. Now we get the sense that HP is wising up to this, and we wouldn't be surprised to see more volume go through distribution and less through Partner Direct.

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