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Remember Remember the 5th November

I'm in danger of losing Wednesday, which is blurring rapidly as I run out of daylight.

Last night, I managed to catch the 17:30 flight to Heathrow from Amsterdam and was at the Unisys press party by 18:20, thanks to the time difference, the M4 bus lane and my motorcycle, which was parked outside Terminal One.

I may be approaching my ‘sell-by-date’, as two of the young analysts from Ovum didn’t know who I was, which surprised not so much from the perspective of a damaged ego but rather from that of wondering what on earth they read, if at all, in the IT press, as I’m quite prolific or maybe, I’m just imagining I am.

A long discussion with my Unisys friends over roast chestnuts, baked potatoes and a fireworks display, persuaded me, for the moment at least, that being the smallest player services and hardware in a playground of giants, such as Hewlett Packard and IBM, might not be such a bad thing in the industry’s present circumstances. Under Larry Weinbach’s leadership Unisys has escaped falling into the same trap as Amdahl, NCR, Data General and a long list of other companies which couldn’t easily make the leap between 20th and 21st century IT market economics, with the result that it’s looking healthy, profitable and quite ready to play the agility card against its much bigger rivals.

Whether Unisys will continue its struggle as a hardware vendor forever or find its destiny in pure-play services, is a question I can’t easily answer. Managed services of every kind, now reflect an important and growing part of its revenues and the company is now able to leverage the flexibility of its ES7000 platform, which avoids the same kind of standards lock-in that businesses might experience with IBM and Hewlett Packard solutions. I rather think however, that the relationship between Dell and Unisys will continue to blossom. There’s a great deal of potential synergy between the two companies, which might one day lead to a closer relationship that avoids the gargantuan mating struggle we witnessed between Hewlett Packard’s Carly Fiorina and Compaq’s Michael Capellas. But hey, what do I know? I’m only speculating aloud.

Finally, another match, Novell and Linux vendor SuSe. Last orders at the last chance saloon for Novell I think. A good move maybe but I’m biased and holding a handful of Novell shares which haven’t looked too healthy of late. After all, I’m one of the poor people who started the company in the UK, so there’s always hope!

Off to Westminster then and Committee Room 5. to defend your right to privacy, against proposed Government regulations in the new Communications Act. These regulations, if approved, will establish a voluntary code for communications data retention, extend a sunset clause that will give the government the power to establish a mandatory framework for retention, and bring a wide range of government agencies under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

There is widespread concern amongst Lords about the government proposals. The Joint Human Rights Committee of the Parliament at its meeting last week did not approve them as human rights compliant, and instead referred a number of legal issues to the government for a response. Lords are concerned about the creation of universal communications surveillance, and they are generally unhappy with the proposed oversight of the scheme.

Just remembered I haven't bough any fireworks for my daughter which is equally important in the scheme of things.


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