Computer Associates: Sexy? No. Profitable? You Bet

Software "plumbing" keeps CA hot

In Silicon Valley, Charles B. Wang would be considered a heretic. The CEO of software maker Computer Associates International Inc. restricts his workers' use of E-mail, which he says is used mostly for office politics as a "cover-your-ass tool." He shuns investment bankers but has made more than 60 acquisitions. When the company hit $1 billion in annual sales in 1989, Wang froze hiring, fearing that CA would lose its small-company culture. Believing that CA was being unfairly criticized, he cut off contact with Gartner Group Inc., an influential market-research firm that most high-tech companies kiss up to. ("I refuse to be blackmailed and extorted," he says.) And while his Silicon Valley peers are off chasing the Internet, Wang sees it as just another system for his company's software to manage. "Cool, with-it, and wired are not words you usually associate with CA," says Don DePalma, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

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