Briefs: November 7, 2005


“My resignation from Oracle is not a reflection on the company, its executives or employees. And I wish Oracle and my former co-workers the very best,” Maffei said in a statement released by Oracle.

Maffei had been absent from several conferences for more than two weeks, but Oracle&'s management had refused to comment on Maffei other than saying there were executive scheduling conflicts and family issues.

Oracle, which is acquiring rival Siebel Systems, hired Maffei to replace Harry You, who left after nine months to become CEO at consulting firm BearingPoint.

Maffei was Microsoft CFO from July 1997 to January 2000, departing six months after the company announced a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its accounting practices. He last served as chairman and CEO of 360Networks.

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Lenovo has reached a deal to begin selling some ThinkPads through Office Depot.

The PC maker, which bought the former IBM PC properties earlier this year, has agreed to sell systems including the ThinkPad Z60t and ThinkPad T43 through Office Depot. The Z60t is a titanium-encased widescreen unit while the T43 includes an integrated fingerprint reader.

Office Depot already sells Compaq, HP and Toshiba notebooks. The company&'s rollout of ThinkPads will start Nov. 6, in time for the holiday selling season, the companies said in an announcement.

While IBM made a strategic decision several years ago to ignore the consumer retail shelves, Lenovo has long-standing experience in that segment and its executives said part of their strategy after the IBM deal would be to create a new, consumer business.

In a statement, Lenovo Chief Marketing Officer Deepak Advani said, “Small business customers appreciate the convenience of Office Depot stores and will now be able to experience for themselves” new technologies from Lenovo.

Office Depot maintains 1,000 retail outlets in North America.

FrontRange Solutions has added inventory and knowledge management capabilities to version 5.04 of the IT Service Management (ITSM) module of its HEAT product. The free upgrade ends the need to import inventory data into ITSM from third-party products while giving FrontRange partners the opportunity to re-engage with customers, said Lori Samolyk, senior product marketing manager for FrontRange.

The upgrade also adds a Microsoft Outlook Calendar integration tool that produces a forward scheduling and alert system for future changes managed by ITSM. The result: improved network visibility, more consistent problem resolution and improved help desk environments, Samolyk said.

Google said last week that Google Desktop 2 and Google Desktop for Enterprise have emerged from beta testing and now can be considered full-fledged software. In a sure sign that the search software has finally arrived, Google Desktop has its own blog.

According to the company, the updated version of Google Desktop 2 features enhancements, new third-party panels and improved plug-in development options.

A new Personalized Maps Panel displays maps related to the Web pages you&'re visiting and your location. Google says it&'s also improved the Google Desktop API to make it easier for developers to create new Panel plug-ins. And the company has lowered the bar for becoming a plug-in developer by supporting JavaScript.

There already are a significant number of Google Desktop plug-ins available. These include iTunes and Winamp plug-ins, a dictionary and an American Express panel for tracking credit card transactions in real time—just the thing to monitor identity thieves that could be racking up charges on your card in some distant country.

Google Desktop for Enterprise features improved administration and security options, and now can search IBM Lotus Notes messages.

Mike Zafirovski is scheduled to begin his new job as president and CEO of Nortel Networks on Nov. 15 after settling a lawsuit last week with former employer Motorola.

The lawsuit, filed last month just days after Nortel named Zafirovski to the post, alleged violations of non-compete agreements and sought to block the former Motorola president and COO from taking the job for two years.

Under the terms of the settlement, Zafirovski will return $11.5 million of his separation payment to Motorola, which Nortel plans to reimburse to Zafirovski. The settlement also bars Zafirovski from disclosing Motorola trade secrets or confidential information and places restrictions on contact he can have with specified customers and competitive strategy advice he can provide Nortel relative to Motorola until July 1, 2006.

In addition, both Zafirovski and Nortel have agreed not to hire or recruit Motorola employees for an undisclosed period of time. The settlement does not include an admission of guilt from any party.


ConnectWise, a solution provider and maker of software for running IT service organizations, last week unveiled plans for a national services network and a new managed services platform.

Company president Arnie Bellini announced the services network initiative at the first ConnectWise Partner Summit. The event, held in Tampa, Fla., attracted 350 IT outsourcing organizations nationwide.

“The services network is nothing more than an association of ConnectWise partners who want to do business with each other and already do,” Bellini said. “We are simply facilitating their efforts and enabling them to deliver services excellence.” He said he expects the network to be up and running in three months and that ConnectWise won&'t take a financial piece of any services transaction.

ConnectWise is launching the services network in response to requests from partners who have expressed a desire to team up on services with like-minded organizations that exercise the same services best practices, according to Bellini.

The services network comes as ConnectWise releases its managed services platform, which integrates with managed service offerings from Kaseya, N-Able and Level platforms. The ConnectWise platform is designed to arm partners with tools to help them become virtual IT departments for their customers. Bellini said ConnectWise also has crafted new features for its ConnectWise PSA professional-services software that will help drive partnerships for the national services network.