The Luncher

The Luncher let out a fatty sigh.It had been a long, hard week. There are only so many lunches, press conferences and trips a man can handle and this had been a lig too far.

It all began with lunch with an ex-CompuServer. Not only, it seems, is the front-end being redeveloped, the new CIS could well debut the first fruits of integration with new partner AOL. Instant chat and much-improved navigation then? Well, first things first. Two words: pretty colours.

Sticking with the Net - what did The Luncher think about Netcom's demise? "Writing was on the wall way back," said the big fellow. "When Compaq old boys Davids Furniss and Clarke jumped you knew it was all over."

And the MSN sale rumour? MSN ain't strategic to Gates. Infoseek is also being rumoured to go. MSN sells for Infoseek in the UK. Something may be afoot.

Well, a change in strategy doesn't always work. Tosh's recent entry into desktop PCs hasn't been all smooth. Dealers are calling for lower prices. 'How can you sell against Compaq when you're not even matching them for price?' asks one.

One change that might be for the quieter: Nigel Rix in as the new UK boss of McAfee. The previous chap Jeff Barnes was good for a quote but it was getting a bit heated between him and the Solomon's bunch, he mused. A memorable line: "Yeah, we hate them."

Of course, it's not all hi-tech for The Luncher. In earlier times he played bass guitar for a group that made it as far as Top of the Pops. So when on a recent trip to Scandinavia with Fujitsu, he had no problems at all recognising Fish, once of drab rockers Marillion. Then a strange thing: execs were collared by a Fish band member who had bought a Fujitsu notebook that had gone duff. For several free tix, FJ staffers fixed the unit after first removing a CD-ROM depicting images of a questionable taste.

Not as strange as the trip with Canon last weekend. The Luncher's patriotism had caused him to accept hospitality at the Italy versus England match in Rome. The catch? Just say dozens of copier salesmen.

Well, it's weird world for anybody anyhow - who would have believed about the Digital guy at AMD's conference in Versailles. After a few looseners, he was telling a humourous story to The Luncher and colleagues of how a well-known car company tested its windscreens by firing dead birds at them - oh yes - when a group of Americans took offence. A fracas ensued.

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