HP learns new tricks, Microsoft patents clicks

Here's some advice to CIOs eyeing the Indian option: when you're planning to move customer support offshore, make sure the call centre isn't owned by one of your biggest competitors.

Several readers have written to ask what's been happening in La Vida Cringely lately. First, let me assure you there's no truth to the rumours that my surly yet sagacious editor has forbidden me to write about personal matters (that is, as long as they don't involve him).

It's just that there's not much to report. Since Pammy cleared out, it's just been me and Apache, lone wolves roaming the silicon tundra with our noses to the ground and our tails in the air, sniffing out scoops. And you know what? Life as a dog isn't half bad. Kibble can be mighty tasty if you saute it with a little red wine.

Passage to Chilliwack

Here's some advice to CIOs eyeing the Indian option: when you're planning to move customer support offshore, make sure the call centre isn't owned by one of your biggest competitors. Hewlett-Packard learned this lesson the hard way when it ditched an EDS-owned centre in Canada for a cheaper alternative in India. According to my sources, HP had signed the contract and was about to make the switch when IBM swooped in and acquired the centre. A scrambling HP found an alternative outsourcer to handle customer calls -- back in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Moral of this story: in the IT biz, there's no such thing as a shore thing.

Patently absurd

Despite being thwarted in its attempt to wrest ownership of the word "windows" from Merriam-Webster, Microsoft has succeeded in patenting the double-click -- at least as it applies to handheld PCs. The US Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent in April, thus providing even more evidence the patent office is run by the guys from Dumb & Dumberer.

Puss reboots

According to my spies, the website for an unnamed high-tech publication (featuring a certain feline competitor of mine) went dark briefly last week or so ago. Turns out somebody forgot to renew the domain name registration in time. The domain was reregistered, and the site came back up a few hours later. I guess some Katts do have nine lives.

Got hot tips or effective flea remedies? Send them to cringe@infoworld.com.

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More about ApacheEDS AustraliaHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPIBM AustraliaMerriam-WebsterMicrosoftPatent and Trademark Office

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