Former Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors may have thought he was getting away from all the bull when he left the company a...

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Former Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors may have thought he was getting away from all the bull when he left the company a few months ago.

How wrong he was!

During his downtime, after leaving Microsoft in March and before starting at Ignition Partners as a venture capitalist this month, Connors went back to his Montana ranch to take care of business. One item on the agenda: buying a few prize-winning bulls from Mel Gibson, who is selling his ranch not far from the Connors place.

Connors is apparently going to be Ignition’s seed-capital specialist.


Bellevue-based Mforma raised $63 million in venture capital and acquired almost a dozen companies worldwide in the last year. It also secured a contract with Marvel comics to develop ringtones and graphics that could be worth as much as $100 million in the next four years.

But Mforma’s big news may be yet to come. Rumors have it the company may move its headquarters from the Eastside to California.

“Yeah, it’s floating around. We are aware of the rumor,” said spokeswoman Kimberly Tassin. “There’s nothing official yet.”

Word of the move preceded an announcement last week that it hired and changed four executive positions — three in the company’s San Francisco office and the fourth in London. But San Francisco doesn’t have one thing going for it: Mforma Chief Executive Dan Kranzler is still here. For now, at least.

Wireless Déjà Vu

There is no more blue and orange, just orange now.

Any signs of AT&T Wireless slipped away last week after Cingular Wireless handed the AT&T Wireless brand back to AT&T.

April 26 was the last day Cingular was able to co-market the two brands, according to an agreement signed in October when Cingular’s purchase of AT&T Wireless closed.

At the time, Cingular launched an ad campaign that integrated the orange Cingular logo and the word “Cingular” written in blue. The ads also used the signal bars found in AT&T Wireless’ most recent advertising campaign. That all stays.

What is gone is the AT&T Wireless logo. But maybe not for long. AT&T has said previously it plans to launch its own wireless service. What will it be called? AT&T Wireless, of course.

ABCs and 123s

Much of the focus of a conference call discussing the MoneyTree Survey released last week was on vocabulary. John Taylor, the vice president of research of the National Venture Capital Association (which does the survey with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Venture Economics), said venture capitalists invested $4.6 billion in 674 U.S. companies during the first quarter. That was the 12th consecutive quarter in which investment levels fell between $4 billion and $6 billion.

“This is what we are calling the RIPE zone,” Taylor said, adding it stands for Rational Inevitable Performance-driven Equilibrium.

Translation: “There’s been very little in the way of change,” he said.

Another term heard in the call was “white space.” Tom Crotty, a general partner at Battery Ventures, defined a company that fell within this space as one that has been up and running for a while but has yet to receive VC money. It also could be a company in an industry that is off the beaten path or not getting money from VCs.

Why is this important?

“You are not going to get the job done if all you are doing is investing in other people’s investments,” Crotty reasoned.


So where was the Diet Orange Crush at WinHEC last week? Even the chief software architect had to make do with a plain old Diet Coke after his speech. Maybe he saves the good stuff for Think Week.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or