by CIO Staff

IT-Related Quotes from ’06 Worth Noting

Dec 01, 20066 mins
IT Leadership

This year in IT has been anything but dull, as industry titans Bill Gates and Scott McNealy prepared to exit stage right, longtime bitter foes Novell and Microsoft cuddled up, and Hewlett-Packard saw a spying scandal shred its reputation.

There was plenty of commentary to accompany all that activity, so let’s check out some of the most quote-worthy artifacts from IDG News Service stories.

Good night, and good luck

“I’m thrilled not to have to be CEO anymore. That was a temporary thing that I took on about 22 years ago.” — Scott McNealy on handing over Sun Microsystems chief executive officer (CEO) honors to ponytailed whippersnapper President Jonathan Schwartz. McNealy appeared upbeat despite having failed to fully reverse the company’s poor financial performance. (May 19)

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

“The world has had a tendency to focus a disproportionate amount of attention on me.” — Bill Gates, claiming he won’t be missed all that much as he steps away from his daily chief software architect role at Microsoft come July 2008 to focus on his charity organization. Gates will remain as company chairman “indefinitely.” (June 15)

Sure, we love Linux, we just love Windows more

“If you want something, I’m still going to tell you [to buy] Windows, Windows, Windows.” — Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, aiming to “bridge the divide” between open-source and proprietary software with a surprise partnership with Novell. Sounds like he hasn’t got that whole co-opetition thing straight yet. Ditto on what the whole lovefest means for patents, with the vendors differing on their interpretations of what the deal will mean. (Nov. 2)

“I prefer to be an optimist, and will happily take the option that not everybody needs to be enemies.” — Mr. Maverick himself, Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, with his sunny take on Microsoft/Novell, at odds with the disgust voiced by many in the open-source community with the Suse distributor. (Nov. 2)

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve … didn’t

HP CEO Mark Hurd
HP CEO Mark Hurd

“I understand there is also a written report of the investigation addressed to me and others, but I did not read it. I could have, and I should have.” — Mark Hurd, Hewlett-Packard’s embattled CEO, stating the obvious over his failure to peruse key information describing the company’s bizarre attempts to unearth the source who leaked board-level confidences. (Sept. 22)

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.” — Patricia Dunn, HP’s former chairwoman, testifying before a U.S. Congress subcommittee about those techniques Hurd didn’t bother to look into, which included pretexting. Forced out of HP in the wake of the spy scandal, Dunn continues to maintain the methods were legal. After all, she was assured of their legality by HP’s own lawyers. (Sept. 28)

Touching evil

“We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil.” — Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, about the yearlong soul-searching process that the company went through before deciding to offer a censored version of its services in China. Google famously espouses the “don’t be evil” credo. (Jan. 27)

That competitive spirit

“We will compete like gentlemen. We’ll come in with swords, not bombs and guns, and fence.” — Shai Agassi, president of SAP’s product and technology group, describing how the vendor is balancing a desire to stomp all over Microsoft in the small to midsize business applications market while simultaneously cuddling up to the Redmond Rampager to make sweet music around their joint Duet product. (May 22)

“This is capitalism; we’re competing.” — Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, giving his spin on why his company is offering “enterprise support” for Red Hat’s Linux distribution—other than push down Red Hat’s share price and potentially put the vendor out of business, that is. (Oct. 25).

Telling it like it is

Oracle CSO Mary Ann Davidson
Mary Ann Davidson

“I think my response was, ‘What idiot dreamed this up?’ ” — Mary Ann Davidson, Oracle’s chief security officer, in typically blunt manner, remembering her reaction to the company’s scheme to brand its databases as “unbreakable.” (May 25)

“Anybody [in the Internet space] who wasn’t interested in YouTube was either asleep or not being honest.” — Jonathan Miller, AOL chairman and CEO, regretting that Google, not his company, bought the video-sharing startup. Less than a week later, Miller was out of a job as Time Warner replaced him with veteran television executive Randy Falco. (Nov. 9)

The batteries and the bees

“It’s kind of like impregnating someone. It only takes one, so the more of them there are, the more likely that you’ll impregnate someone,” — Rick Clancy, a Sony spokesman, indulging in some plain speaking as to how short circuits caused by microscopic metal particles in the vendor’s lithium ion batteries led to a handful of laptops catching fire. The result? A series of major recalls of millions of Sony batteries. (Aug. 15)

Waxing poetic

“Enterprise search software is so clearly bereft of soul.” — Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager for Google’s enterprise business, on how high-end search needs to take a page out of consumer search’s book and focus more on the needs of end users. (April 24)

“I think there was a good balance between different hair and beard lengths.” — Kaj Arno, vice president of community relations with MySQL, in a colorful description of the cross-section of attendees at the Free Software Foundation’s First International Conference for GPLv3. (Jan. 23)

Slicing off the fat

“We had become bloated. It’s like middle-age spread. You don’t know how it happens, but one day you look down and it’s there.” — Donald MacDonald, vice president and general manager of Intel’s digital home group, as he patted his belly, graphically describing the chip giant’s attempts to slim down its 100,000-strong work force. (July 18)

Shedding some light under the financial covers

Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Apple’s Steve Jobs

“You can talk about the negatives of 4 to 5 percent market share, but it’s kind of like being in the ocean. We’re on the bottom, so it doesn’t matter what the weather is like up top.” — Steve Jobs, Apple Computer CEO, trying to allay shareholders’ concerns about his company while suggesting he might have spent a little too much time watching his animation studio Pixar’s Finding Nemo movie. (April 27)

“What the chief accountant creates is a work of art.” — Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, defining most financial reporting as less of a historical record and much more of a forecast. Perhaps that’s why so many IT companies fell foul of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this year, particularly in relation to past practices around the granting of employee stock options. (Nov. 9)

-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)

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