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2003: On the record; off the mark

Dec 19, 20034 mins
Data CenterLinuxOracle

Though the IT industry seemed unable to deliver the next killer app in 2003, its executive management produced more than its usual share of comments whose hyperbole, wrongness or general disconnection with reality make them worth repeating. The industry giants that dominated the headlines — Microsoft, Oracle, and of course would-be giant-slayer, The SCO Group — also made an impressive showing in this year’s list of comments that weren’t quite on the mark.

It’s really all about growing Linux. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

“If the Linux community is really going to continue to grow, we can’t keep ignoring this problem of intellectual property violations. We need to address it head on.”

— Chris Sontag, SCO’s senior vice president of SCOsource, speaking just weeks before his company launched a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against IBM. Nearly a year later, the company has yet to publicly provide clear proof of its claims.

Use of the “arbitrary system shut-down feature” is trending way up.

“We feel these efforts are starting to pay off and that our numbers will trend down in terms of the absolute numbers of bugs that are identified and vulnerabilities that are found and have to be fixed.”

— Craig Mundie, the chief technical officer of advanced strategies and policy with Microsoft, interviewed in January 2003, one year after the launch of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing initiative and just months before Blaster and Slammer became household words.

Here’s something else they wouldn’t have: a painful application migration.

“In terms of the technology’s future, PeopleSoft customers will have five or six thousand developers working on a next-generation product, and that’s something they wouldn’t have by continuing down the existing road.”

— Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, trying to make customers feel better about his hostile bid to acquire rival PeopleSoft.

Itanium: One paradigm shy of a shift.

“Come September or October, when we launch a complete Itanium product, there will be a paradigm shift. It will be a disruptive technology. “

— Peter Blackmore, the former head of HP’s Enterprise Systems Group, speaking in March. Despite his skillful integration of both 20th and 21st century cliches the only major shift that happened in the fall had to do with Blackmore’s job, when his group was absorbed into HP’s service business.

Strongly in the red, that is.

“We certainly had our share of challenges throughout the year, but we finished in a strong financial position.”

— Steve McGowan, Sun’s chief financial officer in a July conference call reporting the company’s fourth-quarter results. Two months later, Sun shocked Wall Street by revising these numbers downward by more than $1 billion.

We don’t need your stinkin’ money. Oh, 80 cents a share, you say? Sold.

“We had a funding relationship with WorldCom. However, part of this new business plan was to become financially independent, meaning we won’t require funding from anybody, WorldCom or anybody else. “

— George Kerns, CEO of Digex, speaking several months before the managed hosting provider’s board recommended that shareholders accept an $0.80 per share buyout offer from WorldCom.

India, Indiana… as long as we’re finding new jobs, that’s the important thing.

“After having a chance to discuss our vision of how the state should do business and how we can provide better opportunities to Indiana companies and workers, we concluded that this contract did not fit in that framework.”

— Joe Kernan, governor of Indiana, as he ordered the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to end its $15.2 million IT services contract with Tata America International, a company that planned to import 65 workers from India to do the work.

Our router includes complete DoS attack support.

“More products are using features that require constant interaction with the Internet… That could seem like a non-issue on a small scale, but if you have a huge installed base of these products, unexpected issues like this one can arise.”

— Leslie Adams, vice president of marketing for Netgear explaining how her company’s products were accidentally programmed to effectively mount a denial-of-service attack against the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s, Network Time Protocol servers.