The Morning Download: Pay Falls for Top-Earning CIOs

[Michael Hickins]

The Morning Download cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints.

Good morning. If you’re looking to become the highest-paid CIO in the land, this morning you can set your sights just a little bit lower.  And, we have exclusive interviews with CIOs weighing in on their strategies for dealing with some of the biggest vendors you all have to deal with — Microsoft, H-P, IBM, and Cisco.

Top earning CIOs took cuts in compensation. last year wasn’t quite the banner year for the top-paid CIOs as 2010 — at least based on the compensation filings we’ve seen so far. Three of 2010′s most highly paid CIOs still in their jobs saw their pay cut last year, CIO Journal’s Rachel King writes. The big exception in 2011 was Norfolk Southern’s Deborah Butler. Her total compensation increased to $3.96 million last year from $3.2 million in 2010. It pays to make the trains run on time. not so lucky: Rob Carter at FedEx, Aetna‘s Meg McCarthy, and Glen Salow at Ameriprise Financial. Click through to see their compensation figures.

Pinebridge CIO likes a ‘Pure’ throat to choke. Pinebridge CIO Anthony Sirabella tells CIO Journal that when it comes to technology, he likes having one throat to choke. IBM‘s PureSystems, an all-in-a-box approach the company introduced Wednesday, would suit him well . In fact, he built his infrastructure using a similar offering from Cisco. Others, like Cox Enterprises, would rather hire a variety of vendors based on the strengths of their respective technologies. Gartner analyst Dave Capuccio calls it “vendor lock-in.” Agree or disagree? please tell us in the comments, or drop us a line.

CIOs fret about the transition from older versions of Windows. “I don’t have a lot of confidence” that Windows 8 will be ready for the transition, says Alexander Pasik, CIO for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, where roughly 75% of its 1,200 workers use Windows XP. Microsoft hopes that by turning off support for Windows XP and Vista, its customers will make the jump to either Windows 7 or Windows 8, which is yet to be released. While hopes are high for Windows 8, many CIOs say they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision — and they need to start planning now, CIO Journal’s Clint Boulton reports. On the other hand,  Nomura said Microsoft is already seeing growth linked to a trio of  “8″ products for PCs, servers and phones.  Nomura says the new operating system will reposition Microsoft for the mobile era, Dow Jones Newswires writes.

PC shipments rise, but consumer demand in the U.S. is weak. Global PC shipments were stronger than expected during the first quarter,  research firm Gartner said Wednesday. most telling, perhaps, were the results from the U.S., where consumer demand was low. The popularity of Apple devices is drawing money away from the traditional PC market, and corporate budgets are likely to follow trends established by consumer purchasing patterns, CIO Journal reports.


Google+ gets a Facebook-like refresh. In an effort to more directly compete with social networking behemoth Facebook, Google unveiled a refresh of Google+, its social networking platform that hasn’t made as big a splash as hoped (despite boasting 170 million members), writes eWEEK’s Nathan Eddy.

DOJ charges Apple’s e-book strategy is anti-competitive. The U.S. accused Apple and five of the nation’s largest publishers Wednesday of conspiring to raise e-book prices, in a case that could radically reorder the fast-growing business, the Journal reports. “Apple’s cozy relationship with the White House wasn’t enough to keep the Justice Department from taking a bite,”  Elizabeth Wasserman of Politico writes. As soon as news of the suit broke, Amazon announced that it was slashing e-books prices. Amazon is happy to take a loss on e-books so it can boost market share for its Kindle devices, the NYT says. “When it has enough competitive advantage, it can dictate its own terms, something publishers say is beginning to happen.”

Tablet sales to double to 119 million in 2012, thanks to the iPad. In a trend that may benefit Microsoft, businesses will start accommodating more tablets under bring-your-own-device programs in the coming years, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Microsoft is banking on the popularity of its new Windows 8 operating system to create demand for its OS generally in corporate IT departments. Gartner says Microsoft’s share will grow to 4% in 2012, still a distant third behind the iPad’s 61% share and number two Android, with 31.9%. Gartner expects Microsoft’s share to grow to almost 12% in 2016.

Yammer buys a collaboration company. We know there’s a lot of interest among CIOs for secure web-based social and collaboration tools, and Wednesday’s acquisition by Yammer bolsters the offering of an important player in this market. The business-friendly social network acquired OneDrum, which it will use to add document collaboration features to its core product, Bloomberg reports. Yammer currently allows users to integrate collaboration tools from Box and Dropbox, but this deal creates the opportunity for more of a one-stop shop.

Nokia crisis deepens. Once the world’s dominant cell phone company, Nokia is scrambling to stay relevant in the smartphone age. On Wednesday the company warned things will get worse before they get better, saying that competitors are rapidly eating into its sales in emerging markets such as China and India, the Journal reports.

Here’s how to choose a cloud-hosting service. “Determining which provider is best for your business depends largely on what you need the service for, how you wish to use it, and the degree of OS control you require,” writes Eric Geier of Computerworld. His long and detailed overview is a useful resource for CIOs starting to explore the age of the cloud.

Google Ventures builds big data team. Google Ventures, the independent VC arm of Google, has hired Google quantitative researcher Hazem Adam Ghobarah as a member of a team of scientists looking for investment opportunities in Big Data. “We keep coming back to life sciences” as an investment field, he said. “In a given year, you have 200 million pathology slides. if that gets online, it is a Big Data problem,” Bill Maris, managing partner at Google Ventures, tells Quentin Hardy in the New York Times Bits blog.

Wavii uses machine learning to refine information gathering. The paradigm for gathering news and other forms of information on the Web remains in flux, as the appearance of Wavii, a new kind of news gatherer, suggests. Wavii goes beyond the sources that are available on Google,  tracking tweets and video, and allows individuals to follow topics, not just people, Thomas Claburn of InformationWeek writes. It works by applying machine learning to linguistic patterns.

Microsoft wins restraining order in patent case. a U.S. court has granted Microsoft a restraining order to prevent Motorola Mobility Holdings from taking action based on a ruling expected from a German court later this month, the latest twist in a year-and-a-half old transatlantic dispute, Dow Jones newswires report.


BlackRock cuts out the middle man. BlackRock is launching a trading platform that would let it bypass Wall Street and trade bonds directly with other money managers, the WSJ reports. BlackRock would trade corporate bonds, mortgage securities and other assets — matching buyers and sellers for a small fee. It could be a blow for investment banks as they struggle with new regulations and lackluster markets.

Euro zone vs. the Bundesbank. The euro-zone crisis has entered a “less volatile but more lethal phase,” George Soros says in this FT op-ed. he says the Bundesbank is “taking measures to limit the losses it would sustain in a break-up” and markets are beginning to reflect this sense of impending doom. Soros says the bloc needs to break the deflationary trap it’s gotten itself into – even if the German central bank isn’t interested. “The future of Europe is a political issue: it is beyond the Bundesbank’s competence to decide.”

Higher tax revenue shrinks deficit – slowly. The Treasury Department collected $171 billion in taxes and other revenue last month, the highest March tally since 2008, the WSJ reports. Corporate income taxes also shot up and the six-month deficit fell to $778.8 billion, $50 billion lower than the year before. April will be the key indicator, though, since so many people wait until the last minute to file their tax returns.

Foreclosures hit five-tear low. Q1 foreclosure filings fell to their lowest levels since 2007, the Washington Post reports. but housing still has a rocky road to recovery. There’ll likely be another wave of foreclosures as states like Florida, California and New York clear their huge backlogs, which will mean more short-term pain before the market gets on its feet.

The Morning Download: Pay Falls for Top-Earning CIOs

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