Siebel admits price pressure from "desperate activity" .

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Tom Siebel has admitted that Siebel is suffering from price-cutting pressure as a results of what he calls “desperate activity in the marketplace”.

"There clearly is price pressure across the board," CEO Siebel said in a conference call with analysts. "People are still very, very cost conscious. Everybody is slashing costs, slashing costs, slashing costs."

Siebel said a number of rival firms were engaging in what he called “desperate pricing” which was impacting on everyone. "There's a little bit of sometimes desperate activity in the marketplace,” he said.

Wary of a previous occasion when commenting on future prospects cost him a large fine, he refused to talk specifically about how the current quarter was progresssing. "The last time I answered that question, I had to pay a $200,000 fine," he said.

"In the last three years, we've seen a number of false starts in this economy that led people to kind of see some opportunity," Siebel said. But the slightest thing - such as the SARS outbreak - "siderails everything "Right now we remain cautious about the short term and midterm. We believe we're poised to grow this thing."

But he added that the PeopleSoft/Oracle wrangle which he previously blamed for making customers pause, is no longer a major factor. although he left himself a get-out clause by adding that if it flared up again it would be “disruptive to the marketplace.”

Last month, Siebel said it was cutting 490 jobs, or almost 9 per cent of its work force. Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said the company expects $80 million to $100 million in costs, mostly in the third quarter, to close offices and lay off workers.

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