Watch Out for Footnotes: Pricing on i5 520 Express Does Not Include WDS
February 13, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In last week’s issue, I went through the details of the new i5 520 Express configurations. I explained how the new machines and their preconfigured Express setups came with a certain amount of processing power, memory and disk capacity, and maybe with RAID 5 data protection or not. (See Feeds and Speeds of the New System i5s for the details.)
Apparently, there is a very important footnote in the i5 520 Express announcements–one that I didn’t see, and one that IBMers themselves had to hunt around the document for to see. But, the footnote does exist, and that footnote just cost prospective customers a few thousand dollars.
As it turns out, while the i5 520 Express configurations bundle on IBM‘s WebSphere Development Studio on the Entry Plus and higher configurations, the bundle applies to the process of loading it on the machine but not to the fact that the price of that software is added to the configured on the box. (Yes, this is annoying, and the IBMer who brought this to my attention was not exactly happy about it, either.) For instance, all of the other software on the Entry Plus configuration–i5/OS V5R3 or V5R4, Query for iSeries, DB2 Query Manager and SQL Toolkit, and iSeries Access for five users–actually has its price included in the base i5 Express Entry Plus price of $12,675. And if you read the announcement, you would get the idea that WebSphere Development Studio is also priced in that configuration. But it isn’t. What IBM has done is preloaded it on the box–it is not an option, but a requirement–but then priced it separately. This is a dubious practice as far as I am concerned, and bound to cause confusion. If it is bundled on the box, put the price in.
To IBM’s credit, the WDS on these i5 520 Express machines is discounted, which IBM could have also explained and didn’t, not even in that obscure footnote. As it turns out, on i5 520 Express boxes in the P05 software tier, IBM is cutting the WDS license in half to $1,825; it is chopping WDS license fees by 60 percent on P10 machines to $4,000.
Why not just tell us all up front about this?