'Good morning. I'm Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft'. (March 1998)

Bill Gates was a surprise 'visitor' at theLandmark Worldwide Technology Forum announcing that Microsoft was to work with Landmark onthe deployment of the COM interoperability standard on UNIX.

The video-taped greeting from Redmond sure woke up the attendees at the 1998 Landmark Worldwide Technology Forum. John Gibson, Executive VP of Landmark's Integrated Products Group was presenting the merits of interoperability between the worlds of UNIX and Windows and was down in the technological depths of COM object technology on UNIX. This initiative (revealed in the January edition of PDM) heralds an alliance between Landmark and Microsoft and will allow PC based applications to call up data and compute resources running on UNIX machines. Just as a few technologically challenged members of the audience were ready to drop off for the pre-prandial snooze, Gibson electrified the audience by calling his first witness, no other than BG himself.

PR Victory

As you can judge from the text of the address below - it wasn't so much the content - fairly bland stuff really - as the coup de theatre which impressed. A major PR victory for Landmark. Where will it take us? In this issue we analyze COM on UNIX, and the concomitant move to NT. A less spectacular, but nonetheless important announcement at the Worldwide Technology Forum was the adoption by Landmark of GoCad as the motor for their Shared Earth Model (SEM). We take an in-depth look at the SEM - a major new focus of industry interest. But first back to the keynote speeches..

Sacred Cows

The day before Gate's surprise visit, a talk by Gary Hamel offered a highly entertaining demolition of a few icons of the corporate business scene. Hamel's thesis is that we are coming to the end of "faster better cheaper" and it is time to do something different. Announcing the "end of incremental change", Hamel let us in on the strategy industry's dirty secret - "we don't know where new wealth is coming from". Describing strategic planing as an oxymoron - like "British cuisine" or "military intelligence", Hamel encouraged corporations to use young people, people at the geographical periphery of the organization and newcomers to a company. "There are revolutionaries in every company - find them and use them". Hamel was scathing of downsizing - claiming that it failed in two thirds of the corporations where it had been tried.

Disorderly conduct?

Another target for Hamel's acid wit was the corporate merger. Hamel asked "why have a behemoth?" and described some mergers as "tying two drunks together - it doesn't make 'em sober". Two days after Hamel's talk Dresser and Halliburton -soberly- announced a 7.7$ billion merger - the largest ever in the oil service patch. More on this in an action packed PDM…

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