It used to be a software industry catch phrase: I don’t care who takes us over as long as it isn’t CA [Computer Associates]. Computer Associates’ questionable reputation lays partly in the fact that, in the past, when it took over software companies, it immediately fired many of the workers that had developed the acquired company’s software. Now Computer Associates, which has been reborn as a company capable of developing its own advanced technology, has completed another transition. It was identified in Fortune Magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for in the US, based on employee satisfaction. The study was not gauged by earnings: rather the list reflects those companies that attempt to make the working environment more pleasant and less stressful. Computer Associates gets its place in the list because of a series of initiatives to improve morale. Among them is a program to help employees financially who wish to adopt a child; and a Matching Charitable Gifts Program that aims to match donations given by employees to certain charities. One of the reasons why the ‘old’ Computer Associates was unpopular was that after taking software companies over, it would hike the prices of the products they sold. This not only angered customers, but resulted in negative customer feedback and upset staff. Now, according to the Meta Group, systems management software company BMC is about to do the same, following its acquisition of systems management software supplier Boole & Babbage (CI No 3,567). Meta is advising users to negotiate contracts that protect against large price hikes in the event of acquisition. It believes that consolidation in the IBM S/390 mainframe software market – where BMC and B&B are active – is likely to accelerate. Meta expects BMC to raise the prices of B&B’s high-end mainframe software by as much as 45% in the third quarter of next year, if the deal goes ahead as planned. If BMC does intend to do this, it will not please IBM. The company wants third-party mainframe software to come down to Unix levels to make the cost of ownership figures look better.