Reader Feedback on The System iWant, 2007 Edition
January 15, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Readers piped up a bit on the System iWant, 2007 Edition, a hypothetical System i5 product line I dreamed up with user-capped pricing across the entry and midrange portions of the product line. No one said it was crazy, but if you want IBM to actually do this, you need to start telling Big Blue to get on with it. Here’s a sample of the feedback; some of it cannot be printed in a family newsletter, but was much appreciated by me. (Wink, wink.)
I just wanted to say that this article is one of the best that I have read in a long time in regards to taking the fight to Microsoft in the one area where the iSeries is lacking and that is pricing! Please forward this over to the marketing people over at IBM and we can only hope that they put this information to work right away!
Your articles are wonderful and I hope that IBM follows them immediately and religiously. I almost felt that you have read my mind, in terms of I have bought an i5 box and I should do whatever I can run attitude. Whether I run 5250 or Web application, how does it matter to IBM?
This is high time for IBM to adopt this attitude. Otherwise, the company will be losing more and more from the System i market. Also, why is it so difficult to find the prices of i5 boxes on the IBM Website? Buying and leasing of i5 boxes is very secretive and the common man cannot reach. Overall, IBM is creating a very frustrating and confusing environment for AS/400, iSeries, System i customers and is driving everyone–including loyal customers, ISVs, and developers–to other platforms. IBM has done a wonderful job in this area.
Regards and thanks.
Very insightful article. Reminds me a little of the fantasy football league team building exercises. Do you ever get positive feedback from middle management in IBM?
I think the fundamental problem is that IBM is simply uncomfortable with the very thought of selling in volume. Counter cultural to the history and image of the company. Exhibit A: IBM sells off its unprofitable PC business, price the midrange as a cash cow, and continue to improve the mainframe.
Here’s an analogy: It is much more upscale to sell 12 fully loaded Cadillacs a year than 12 stripped down utility Jeeps a week. If the customer can’t appreciate the difference, then too bad. Only problem is we had to tell the factory to do a three-week layoff because we haven’t sold any Caddies for the last two months. Compounding the problem is the fact that limo agencies and funeral homes prefer to use Cadillacs over Jeeps, so it keeps the hope alive the market share will grow again.
I’ve been reading articles on what IBM should do to sell/support/re-invigorate/save the AS400/iSeries/System i for a decade now. There have been some incredibly smart, albeit ignored, suggestions.
The one undeniable conclusion that can be reached and should be reached by all of us who love this box and who make our living on it, is that IBM has only done and will continue to only do enough to keep it alive so that it can milk the installed base for as much revenue as possible. There is no plan to grow the box and hasn’t been for years.
IBM talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. The market continues to shrink and is on an obvious deathward spiral, slow and painful to watch. More painful, because we know it didn’t have to be, that IBM is killing its own, and our adopted, child. A child, that if nurtured and encouraged to grow, would have been exceptional.
At this point, even if there were a revolution in thinking at IBM, even if they started pushing the box, cut prices so that it was competitive, advertised its virtues without concern for the feelings of the other IBM divisions, I don’t know if the platform could be saved. The current downward slope is steep and probably irreversible.