10 Things That Happened In The IT Channel 10 Years Ago

February 2001 In The IT Channel

Ten years ago this month, solution providers as well as IT vendors started to see signs of a slowing economy and were beginning to understand the demands of a new, Web-based world.

During the month, Cisco's John Chambers went on record as one of the first to see the economic crisis brewing, Napster's demise focused attention on DRM, and BearingPoint was born of KPMG. In addition, Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, Microsoft, iXL, CompuCom and Sybase each made the news.

Cisco CEO: U.S. Economy Slowing Fast

Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers said at a press conference following his keynote at Oracle AppsWorld that the economic slowdown in the U.S. was worsening and that government and business leaders needed to act quickly to halt its spread to other nations. Chambers advocated tax cuts and said leaders must reignite growth or face serious consequences in the coming months.

President Clinton, who kicked off Oracle's conference on President's Day, was more upbeat about Wall Street and capital spending.

Ellison To Partners: Don't Do Apps Customization Or Linux

Oracle hit resistance from eBusiness Suite consultants, including its own in-house consultants, as it tried to persuade them to abandon custom development in favor of mapping business processes to the Internet.

Speaking at AppsWorld, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison addressed the question of why resellers were resisting upgrading to 11i.

Napster Case Puts Focus On DRM

The Napster music site was ordered by a federal court to stop trading copyrighted material. Analysts predicted a new generation of digital-rights management solutions may prevent other Web sites and portals from running into the same legal complications as the infamous music-trading site. They also expected more focus to be placed on services and solutions that can protect copywritten content traded on peer-to-peer systems.

KPMG Consulting Goes Public

Despite an unfriendly environment for services companies' IPOs, KPMG Consulting launched its initial public offering with a bang. The offering, worth an estimated $2 billion, debuted at $18 a share, the high end of the expected price range. Within hours of KPMG's debut, the stock price had risen to just less than $23 a share. Soon afterward, the consulting firm changed its name to BearingPoint.

In early 2009, BearingPoint filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and proceeded to sell portions of the firm to Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and other parties, including Atos Origin in Europe.

Sybase Purchases NEON

Sybase bought New Era of Networks (NEON) for $373 million to help transform it from a legacy database company into an e-business solution vendor. NEON's common stock was converted into Sybase common stock, valued at $24.50 at the close of the market on Feb 20, 2001. The agreement came only four weeks after Sybase announced record earnings, and completed a three-year re-engineering effort that took the company from database supplier to fully integrated provider of e-Business solutions.

The Linux Populist: An Interview With Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik

CRN talked with Red Hat's then-CEO and president Matthew Szulik about how his company met or exceeded Wall Street expectations for six consecutive quarters, how he built one of the fastest-growing software empires in history and how he created what was arguably the best brand name in open-source computing to that point in history.

Szulik stepped down as president and CEO at the end of 2007. Jim Whitehurst took over for Szulik.

Windows XP Beta 2 Ships

Microsoft highlighted the redesigned, user-selectable "Visual Styles" interface of its forthcoming Windows XP upgrade this month. Windows XP Beta 2, which shipped at the end of the month, featured significant performance improvement and substantially improved terminal services capabilities for ASPs. Microsoft released Beta 2 of both the Windows XP client and server on Feb 28, while the client was released to manufacturing in late May 30.

New iXL CEO Projects Confidence

Struggling Web integrator iXL welcomed a new CEO, Christopher Formant. Formant discussed with CRN how he kicked off his first week as CEO huddling with all of the regional office managers at the company. Although Formant said he was "confident about what I see in the pipeline," iXL was reeling after laying off 850 staffers and closing seven offices in November.

Prior to Formant's arrival, chairman and founder Bert Ellis helped secure $20 million from ProAct Technologies for the rights to acquire up to 10 percent of iXL's interest in ProAct. Still, it wasn't enough to save the company: iXL was folded into Razorfish in 2002.

IBM Putting Partners On The Web

IBM partner execs push the PartnerCommerce online ordering tool, which let IBM business partners order products and manage their relationships with IBM via the Web. IBM was gearing up for PartnerWorld 2001, where it planned to provide partners with more information on the PartnerCommerce initiative. In 2000, more than 245,000 orders were processed via the PartnerCommerce tool, accounting for more than $17 billion in revenue. That amount represents 49 percent year-to-year growth from 1999.

CompuCom Transforms For Next Economgy

Despite the financial troubles that have already befallen old-world channel giants such as Inacom and MicroAge, 13-year-old CompuCom Systems assured us it wouldn't become another IT dinosaur. Ed Coleman, president and CEO of the company, talked about transforming CompuCom from a traditional reseller into a digital infrastructure company, by banking on wireless technology and e-services initiatives.