Microsoft wagers on XML

Two years ago at the Can>Win Summit in Toronto, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer touted the benefits of XML and said that Microsoft would be placing all bets on it and

the .Net platform. He described XML as the “”lingua franca”” in the way that people and businesses would communicate over the Internet.

“”If we’re wrong about this XML revolution it will be very hard for us to adapt — it’s one of our big bets,”” he said.

Turns out, Microsoft rolled a lucky seven again with XML. Meta Group Inc. has predicted that by 2004, 95 per cent of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will be using XML across their operations.

Dell starts a war

Dell Computer Corp. ruffled some feathers in the VAR industry in May 2001 when it started a price war. Dell’s direct model approach to selling its products forced companies such as IBM, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard to lower their prices, and raised concerns from white box vendors.

“”Dell competes on price and they’ve proven by selling direct to the end-user that they’re correct,”” Michelle Warren, and analyst with Evans Research Corp. explained.

From the looks of things, not much has changed.

“”We’ve been fighting Dell for at least 10 years now with the same ammunition and the same gun,”” Patrick Power, managing partner, sales and marketing with OAM Computer Group recently said. Though this has been working on a micro-level, he said, overall worldwide numbers indicate that Dell has the No. 1 desktop market share.

“”Still, what Dell struggles with is it needs the channel as well — it can’t provide proper IT solutions to SMB customers who need value in the solution.””

3Com restructures

3Com Canada had its employees on tenderhooks in May 2001 when its parent company announced its plans to axe 3,000 jobs worldwide including full-time regular employees. Calling the restructuring “”bold,”” 3Com said that its plans to reduce costs could include plant closures and cutting expenses on product designs.

By 2002, 3Com had turned around and its Canadian president Nick Tidd was named Computer Dealer News’ newsmaker of the year.

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