Feds won't fume over Fiorina getting her pink slip

The Rat

Michael J. Bechetti

'The star-nosed mole sweeps its feelers back and forth 13 times a second while feeding,' recited the Rat's youngest son as he wrote his science report. 'When it finds food, it snatches it up in less than a fifth of a second.'

'Wow, those little suckers move fast,' the whiskered one thought aloud. 'Almost as fast as the webmasters at Hewlett-Packard Co. who yanked down Carly Fiorina's bio after the HP board fired her.'

Indeed, immediately after the news of her ouster broke, Web surfers were treated to a 404 error instead of Fiorina's bio. Heads are still spinning over the sudden purge of Fiorina, whose departure was greeted by many HP partisans with the same glee that the crowd displayed at Marie Antoinette's last haircut.

Carly ran a pretty mean guillotine herself, the Rat mused. She executed a lot of software that once had a decent foothold in the federal market, including HP OpenMail and the former Bluestone Java application server. And she drove others, such as the HP-UX Unix operating system, into virtual market exile in favor of big-screen televisions.

So it should come as no surprise that there are a fair number of feds who are happy about Fiorina's fall. Most of them are among the pocket-protector set.

HP used to be an engineer's company, and many government engineers seemed in perpetual geek love with HP's hardware and software.

Fiorina jilted them by spinning off HP's instrument unit and flushing much of the company's engineering Shangri-La image down the toilet.

It's not like everything HP did under Fiorina's watch alienated techies, though. The decline of HP-UX was due mostly to the company's adoption of the Linux cause. In fact, HP's support of open-source projects has been substantial.

No one is saying Fiorina was fired for her strategy. HP's chief financial officer Robert Wayman, now the interim CEO, has said there won't be a strategy change. It seems Fiorina's real failing was that she couldn't move on the strategy fast enough'and she wasn't good at delegating any of it.

'She bit off more than she could chew,' the Rat reflected.

'Speaking of chewing, the star-nosed mole can swallow 10 mouthfuls of worm in 2' seconds,' the young ratling continued. 'It's the fastest-eating mammal in the world!'

'Faster than Michael Capellas can broker a merger, but not much,' the cyberrodent snickered. The former Compaq CEO, who moved on to MCI Inc. after the HP merger, has apparently come out of the deal A-OK. Having just arranged his new company's acquisition by Verizon Communications Inc., Capellas is now apparently in the running for Fiorina's job.

'Heck, maybe one of those industrious moles would be good for the job,' the Rat joked.

'I don't think so,' his son said. 'They feel for food with their noses and gobble it up in a flash. Didn't you say the only thing a CEO needs is good table manners?'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at .

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