Inktomi CEO talks about downturn

This is the best of times and the worst of times for the IT community, according to David Peterschmidt, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Internet infrastructure software maker Inktomi Corp. The financial markets are turbulent, and yet, new technology to bolster the capabilities of the Internet continue to emerge, he said during a keynote speech Wednesday at Comdex Chicago.

Peterschmidt should understand the turbulent markets as his company announced on Monday that it will let go of 25 percent of its workforce through attrition or layoffs and will post a US$0.23 to $0.25 per- share loss for the company's second quarter. This caused Inktomi's stock price to drop from a closing price on Monday of $6.22 a share to $2.79 a share at the close of trading Tuesday.

Just like the old economy, the new economy will be about companies having the necessary infrastructure, providing services, globalization, a clear revenue stream and focusing on the corporate client, Peterschmidt said. He suggested to conference participants three key points to remember when developing a new product in the current economic conditions.

A product first should be compelling and offer revenue growth capabilities or the ability to cut costs, he said. Second, a product should be defensible and not be developed by another company within 90 days. And finally, the product should have an enduring benefit, Peterschmidt said.

Inktomi has developed content management software that Peterschmidt thinks fits that criteria, he said. Software is essential in the new economy to make the Internet more robust, providing features like streaming video, he suggested. He gave a demonstration of the company's Broadcast Manager product, which assists with prioritizing the streaming video traffic into a network. He stressed that it is ideal for online conferencing or corporate training.

Inktomi's content management products are expected to be offered on a forthcoming Compaq Computer Corp. TaskSmart C Series server, said John Young, Compaq's vice president of TaskSmart Servers Industry Standard Server Group. He took the stage with Peterschmidt to show the new server, designed for the corporate WAN (wide area network) or a data center. The new member of the TaskSmart C Series server family is expected out in several months, Young said.

Comdex Chicago continues through Thursday.

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