Oracle brains drain; Microsoft CRM pain

Plus, a harem of tech support bimbos who aim to please

I thought things were heating up on the home front last month when I found Pammy padding around my apartment wearing one of my old computer vendor T-shirts. A cold front has since blown in, leaving frost on the bedroom windows at Chez Cringe. Now Pammy says she’s thinking about taking a women-only cruise next summer. Should I be worried?

Oracle Brain Drain, Part XXI: Thanks to a take-no-prisoners compensation policy (no raises in three-plus years) and the usual bellicose posturing from the CEO’s office, Oracle’s smartest execs are leaving in droves, say my spies at the company. Of course, they’ve been leaving in droves for decades — and going on to launch PeopleSoft, Siebel, Salesforce.com, and so on. Maybe we should thank Larry for doing his part to fuel new startups. I know I couldn’t write this column without him.

Getting CRM’d: Microsoft made a big splash when it refreshed its CRM offering in December, but the company’s approach to its own customer relations seems to be all wet. One Cringester reports that after weeks of fruitless efforts attempting to get MS CRM installed on his network, a Microsoft tech admitted that the company was “having lots of issues with the CRM solution if it needs to run in a secure environment.” (Secure environment — hello? This is a Microsoft product.) So far the Redmond Rascals have refused to refund the customer’s money, but they have offered to give him the equivalent amount in software. Old copies of Microsoft Bob, perhaps?

Reach Out and Touch: A tipster rummaging the Windows 2000 help files for a solution to his defrag problem found an old 800 number for Executive Software’s Diskeeper. Obviously the execs at Executive Software no longer lay claim to the number because when the tipster dialed it he heard a series of ads for various, um, personal services. Apparently working girls, housewives, and local babes will talk to you for just 69 cents per minute. Who knows how much tech support would cost you?

Maybe it’s just the holiday hangover, but lately my inbox has been quieter than a SCO executive under subpoena. I need scoops! Send your dirt, your hurt, your hot news, and your inside dope to cringe@infoworld.com. I’ll fork out 50 simoleons to the best that cross my desk.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.