IT Weekly Newsletter 1 Oct0ber 2005

There is a saying in newspaper circles that if an editor calls for the resignation of too many senior figures without any of them quitting, then he must step down himself.

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By  Peter Branton Published  October 1, 2005

Taking the guesswork out of punditry|~|gettyel31body.jpg|~|Larry Ellison said he wasn't interested in buying any business intelligence players. |~|There is a saying in newspaper circles that if an editor calls for the resignation of too many senior figures without any of them quitting, then he must step down himself. Last week IT Weekly speculated on which companies Oracle might decide to buy next and came to the conclusion that a business intelligence player such asCognos would be a logical fit. Two days later, in an interview in the US, Oracle head Larry Ellison said he wasn't interested in buying any business intelligence players. Umm... Punditry is always a tricky game for us hacks here in the region. Often, the local heads of multinationals that we interview are still waiting to be briefed on that big announcement that has just broken and so — unsurprisingly — are not keen to disclose too much in an interview, especially if they know it is likely to go online. Overseas companies may not monitor every regional publication for every country they operate in, but they very definitely do check what is written about them on the world wide web. Get a story wrong on there and you could find yourself in trouble, get a story right and it can be even worse, at least in terms of how companies react. The big international firms like to keep a very strict lid on their announcements and don't want them released too early. But, the astute reader may well ask, why not? If a company is releasing an exciting new product, why wouldn't it want its customers to find out all about it? You have to remember though, that virtually every time a company releases a new product then, unless it is entering a completely new market for its offerings, that product will replace or supercede something in its existing lineup. It is also almost certainly going to be better than that existing product — if it wasn't then why would people buy it? But if a customer knows that a new product is coming along within a matter of months that can do the job they want done but do it better, then they are hardly going to buy the existing one. In these days of just-in-time manufacturing, then often companies can avoid being stuck with a large inventory of unsold product, but they are still likely to be stuck with some stock (even software firms package software early). Worse, they could find sales for the quarter are severely impacted if they're not selling enough kit or winning new license fees. (That doesn't mean that new products ARE always better than the ones that they replace, sometimes companies plain get it wrong, but then they don't exactly want that story to get widely reported either). Imagine Microsoft executive joy at the report earlier this month from a group of Gartner executives that customers might be better off not bothering with Office 12, because there is too much stuff coming out from the Redmond firm at the same time. Office is a veritable cash cow for Microsoft, one of the most lucrative and important product lines in the history of the IT industry. News that affects its sales is hardly likely to be cheerfully welcomed. Unfortunately, the Gartner analysts posted their conclusions online and now half the world's press (including IT Weekly, see page 10) have reported on their findings. Mind you, Office 12 is not due to be released until 2006 at the earliest, so there is plenty of time for things – and conclusions – to change. Perhaps that was our problem. We speculated on who Larry would buy next and that’s something that is going to happen a lot sooner than 2006. ||**||

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