ShadowRAM: January 7-14, 2002

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    Watch for a shakeup in Microsoft's .Net marketing effort this week. Word out of Redmond is that patience has worn thin with the current situation, which has too many marketing teams stirring the pot. "Stuff isn't getting done," said one source close to the move. Looks like Chris Atkinson and Michael Risse, the Microsofties in charge of herding the cats thus far, will be redeployed.

    Interesting that Microsoft sees its marketing as not being up to snuff. The conventional wisdom outside Redmond is that company marketing by far outstrips its ability to ship solid, bug-free products that actually work.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission said during now-defunct reseller Inacom's final months, two company executives improperly inflated earnings numbers by taking money from a reserve account and listing it as revenue. In a federal lawsuit, the SEC has charged that former Inacom CFO David Guenthner and his deputy, Jay Samuelson, "improperly accrued unallocated, general reserves, then reversed $7.1 million of these reserves into income in the third quarter of 1999."

    The SEC also charged that the two incorrectly listed inventory transactions for the third quarter of 1999 that should have been credited to the first and second quarters of that year. "Throughout the first three quarters of 1999, Guenthner caused Inacom to recognize manufacturer rebates to which it was not entitled, thereby understating its cost of goods sold and overstating net income," the SEC said.

    Guenthner denied that he had done anything wrong to The Omaha World-Herald. Samuelson's lawyer also denied any wrongdoings on the part of his client.

    A malicious hacker continues to harangue Philadelphia-based e-commerce company Ecount. Last week, "Zilterio" sent a mass e-mail to reporters, claiming he had hacked into an Ecount site and stolen more than 350,000 credit-card numbers. Ecount CEO Matthew Gillin said the credit-card numbers are actually invalid account numbers and the e-mail appears to be a last-ditch effort by a cybercriminal who tried to extort money from the company after breaking into its systems and stealing customer data last August. Zilterio threatened to disclose the attack unless Ecount paid him money, but the company thwarted his plan by hiring Ernst and Young to secure its system and notifying customers about what was happening. Ecount is working with the FBI.

    Rumor has it J.D. Edwards COO Hank Bonde was considered but passed over for the CEO spot. Former Teradyne, EMC and IBM exec,and Lou Gerstner's assistant when he started at IBM,Robert Dutkowsky was tapped Jan. 3. Maybe Lou put in a good word for Bob?

    Could it be that Oracle,long the direct-sales nemesis of the channel,is actually becoming more VAR-friendly than Microsoft, which built its world on partners? Oracle planned, announced and appears to be executing on its rules of engagement, letting partners play in accounts with up to $1 billion in annual revenue, while it's taken Microsoft nearly a year to get its rules out. Hey, guys, whatever happened to Internet time?

    Face it, said one longtime partner, "[Windows XP sales are crappy, and if you can't sell product, the other thing you can sell is services." Don't think other solution providers aren't watching this shell game very carefully. The rules, which have been guarded like the Ark of the Covenant, are now due to be unveiled today.

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