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Seems Siebel Systems is starting to circle the wagons as the economy continues to go south and customer dissatisfaction rises. In the past few months, Siebel software has been replaced numerous times by CRM self-service software from RightNow Technologies. This prompted Siebel two months ago to cancel its partnership with RightNow.

Did you catch that Oracle OpenWorld has been renamed OracleWorld this year? What does that say about Oracle? The show opens in mid-November.

Also, word is Lair-Bear Ellison ain't even gonna be on the premises,he'll do his Thursday keynote from somewhere in the South Seas, where he and his team are competing to qualify in the America's Cup race.

One Web site getting a lot of traction lately is, which posts screen shots of very early software, including Microsoft's elusive Longhorn, the next major release of Windows, due, well, God knows when. Last week the site also pointed to screen shots of Office 11, including the Word Beta 11, Access 11 and Excel 11 "about" screens.

CDW CEO John Edwardson made a surprise visit to Shawdowram headquarters last week. But Edwardson, quickly becoming a strong voice in the channel's fight for a more efficient supply chain, didn't want to talk about business. He wanted to give us a heads-up on the hottest rock band to emerge from Chicago since Smashing Pumpkins.

Edwardson wouldn't give too much away but did say the band would make its debut at Comdex during a special presentation for CDW's top vendors. CDW security, it seems, wasn't as thrilled with the group as Edwardson was. When security saw the band members' shaggy hair, goatees and tattoos, they prevented the group from entering CDW's headquarters in Vernon Hills, Ill.

Word has it that Edwardson quickly apologized to the guys, who all agreed that CEOs can be pretty cool after all.

Bill Malik, who once led Gartner's security practice prior to leaving to build a Web security practice for KPMG, is on the move again. Malik recently joined Waveset, a provider of identity management tools, as CTO. Look for Waveset to work closely with Microsoft on crafting a forthcoming .Net Web services standard around identity management that will serve as a counter to the Liberty Alliance project.

Microsoft may be officially unveiling the Tablet PC this Thursday, but some folks just can't wait.

Online retailer PC Connection has had the Acer TravelMate Tablet PC listed on its Web site for some time, including all of the features and specifications as well as a price. For now, that is the only place you can get such detailed information without signing a Microsoft nondisclosure agreement.

Acer folks said early last week the product was supposed to be taken off the PC Connection Web site, but by the end of last week it could still be seen,and ordered. The price? $2,399 plus $37.65 for shipping.

When's the last time a major vendor's direct-sales force showed up at a conference of solution providers and vowed to forge strong alliances with the channel?

Maybe never. But Bill Weaver, HP's vice president of U.S. enterprise and commercial sales, showed up at the recent Arrow SBM PowerTrain conference in San Antonio with all of HP's regional sales managers. Not only that, he gave his direct phone number and e-mail address to all of the solution providers and told them to call him anytime.

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