CA rules out more acquisitions

Chief executive Sanjay Kumar has dismissed competitors and attempted to put last year's management tussle behind him, at the company's annual conference

Sanjay Kumar, Computer Associates' chief executive, kicked off this year's CA World in bullish mood -- dismissing competition in the on-demand market, defending his company's acquisition strategy and drawing a line under the management coup which dominated last year's headlines.

Speaking to attendees at the Las Vegas conference, Kumar said his company has no plans to follow the herd down the acquisition and consolidation trail.

He claimed that companies still talking consolidation are merely following in footsteps trod by CA during the last decade. CA is renowned for making dozens of purchases since its creation.

"There is much talk about consolidation," he said. "We acquired more companies than anybody else during the 1990s. And what we did was totally right and is being vindicated by all the talk of consolidation today."

However, Kumar is confident that CA's days of acquisition are in the past, ruling out any moves in the market. "I could be wrong but I don't see it happening."

Other subjects that Kumar was happy to consign to history were the management coup led last year by Texan billionaire and shareholder Sam Wyly. While he admitted the episode had forced him to reconsider the running of the company and served as a shot in the arm, he was dismissive of Wyly's credentials for heading up CA.

"I think we knew how to run the business better than he did," he said.

Rather than dwelling on past events, Kumar was keen to address what the future holds for CA -- with on-demand computing and utility computing being areas where he sees his company becoming an increasingly active player. While it is not uncommon for conferences such as this to prove a place for chest-beating pronouncements on the health of a company, Kumar was particularly quick to dismiss the threat of IBM in this market.

While he conceded that "IBM probably has the strongest message on on-demand computing", he said he doesn't think Big Blue has a divine right to consider itself the dominant force in the market.

He even went so far as to dismiss IBM's best efforts as being "just somebody's PR and sales message".

Other matters that Kumar spoke out on included the ongoing SCO Linux legal wrangling. He suggested a pragmatic solution to the problem. "We don't see any purpose in getting drawn into a heated debate," he said, adding that this is case where those involved "need to bring everybody together in a room and bang some heads together".


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