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Kill Bill, IBM vs Microsoft 560

theodp writes "Though IBM did not invent Linux, does not distribute it and earns nary a penny on it, the computer giant is spending billions in a crusade to make Linux the world's most popular operating system. All told, more than 12,000 IBMers today devote at least part of their time to Linux. To hear IBMers tell it, all this effort is a matter of giving more choices to customers tired of the Microsoft monopoly. But according to Forbes, IBM has a broader agenda--undermining Bill Gates' company in the battle for a new $21 billion market for Web-linked software."
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Kill Bill, IBM vs Microsoft

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  • by michael path ( 94586 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:31AM (#9248332) Homepage Journal
    one spot likens Linux to an omniscient child prodigy who resembles Eminem.

    Maybe that's what Linux needs to cross over as a mainstream desktop OS? Celebrity endorsements!

    Imagine ads featuring Colin Farrell beating up his Windows PC and putting out cigarettes on the keyboard! A Dawson's Creek ripoff where Katie Holmes's "private, amateur photography" gets lifted off her computer through because she happened to be running an unpatched IIS, part of the default Windows 2000 installation.

    Or, best of all, Snoop Dogg chillin' with a bunch of penguins in his own language resource center, showing them all kinds of shizzle on his Thinkpad laptop running KDE. ....and Twins.....

  • Marketing genius (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KoriaDesevis ( 781774 ) <koriadesevis@yah ... minus poet> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:32AM (#9248350) Journal
    If IBM sells Linux as well as they have OS/2 and VisualAge products, I don't see how Microsoft can lose. IBM has a bad track record of poor marketing strategy. Hopefully they'll finally get it right this time...
  • by Mz6 ( 741941 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:32AM (#9248353) Journal
    I kind this kind of funny and for IBM it couldn't have started at a better time. Microsoft, dilligently working on Longhorn, seems to have turned towards something other than "web-linked" software. They have turned their heads more towards search technologies and fighting a losing battle with Google. Like any corporate american company, they will turn their business to where the money is. Right now, it seems that searching is where the majority of that money will funnel to and Microsoft seems to struggle if they need to support more than 1 thing at a time.

    Best quote from the article... "While IBM's products run on Windows, it wants its customers to see how nicely they would run on Linux as well, using the free operating system as a lure. "[It's] Like getting free bread in a restaurant," says Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology and strategy at IBM.."

    • by TwistedSquare ( 650445 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:34AM (#9248389) Homepage
      "[It's] Like getting free bread in a restaurant,"

      I think he means free beer in a bar!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:56AM (#9248707)
        No. He means "free peanuts in a bar": a free product used to lure people into buying the expensive stuff (beer, or in IBM's case, hardware).
      • IBM used to be profoundly anti-alcohol. Something to do with Thomas J Watson being a Quaker. I may be wrong - it's been almost twenty years since I worked there. Anyway, company policy was offset by the employees, who all drank like fish.

        Hence free bread in a restaurant.
    • This is a better analogy than IBM would want anyone to realize. When you go to a sufficiently nice restaurant and sit down, they bring you some bread. Whether you eat it or not, you paid for it, because it costs them something to make the stuff and that cost is just part of the overhead of the kitchens.

      Similarly, when you buy an IBM product, you are paying for linux, because they are working on linux and it's just part of IBM's overhead. Even if you buy an RS6k with AIX :)

  • Go IBM (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:32AM (#9248354)
    All in favor of overturning evil software monopoly [] and rooting for evil hardware and software monopoly [] say "Yes!"
    • Re:Go IBM (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:46AM (#9248560)
      That *WAS* true of IBM back in the late 80s, early 90s. Actually, the primary reason I was an MS fan was because they were going to take down IBM ... mission accomplished. However, MS then proceeded to over step it's boundaries by snuffing out competitors illegally. Admittedly, I played a bit roled in create the monster.

      Now the tables have turned, IBM is looking to take down MS, thus correcting my blindness, and it's the primary reason I'm an IBM fan now. I don't know if IBM has *really* changed their ways but they walk the walk and talk the talk so I'll back them. That said, there's a big difference between IBM and MS, IBM was *NEVER* actually convicted of being a monopolist, the DOJ dropped the case in the 80s.
      • Re:Go IBM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shri ( 17709 ) <shriramc@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:28PM (#9249141) Homepage
        People forget, IBM also has to battle SUN and HP in more lucrative spaces. Having a consistent scalable *nix interface gives them a huge advantage over SUN/HP.

      • Re:Go IBM (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:37PM (#9249276) Homepage
        It's interesting to see IBM as an underdog, when you're familiar with their glorious days of yore. But it's even more interesting to see that as a company, they've learned from the mistakes they made that brought them down to that position in the first place.

        I liked OS/2. Hell, I *loved* it. After messing around with Windows 3.1s slIP support, and the mess that it was, OS/2 was like a dream. The shell was replaceable, and as easy to swap as renaming the file. The PPP support was excellent, and the TCPIP stack was a hell of a lot more robust than the kludgy win3.1.

        But it was shit with games. You had to hope for ports or use tricks to make them run.

        That didn't bother me a heck of a lot, but it make being an OS/2 evangelist hard. IBMs lack of support didn't help either.

        But now they see the chance to give the bully in the playground the proverbial wedgie, and they're building up a force of little guys to help them.

        And from the looks of it, they're doing a bang up job. Go IBM! For tomorrow we will scorn you for your success!
      • Re:Go IBM (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tiger99 ( 725715 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:00PM (#9249564)
        I think IBM learned their lesson, which is why they employ so many lawyers, to ensure that everything they do is squeaky clean. It happens to be convenient, when someone like the SCOundrel comes along, but most of their work is making sure that contracts are worded properly so that disputes will not arise. Any responsible business does the same.

        Unfortunately Sir Bill demonstrates on a daily basis that he is incapable of learning anything, it will take at least a jail sentence before he mends his ways.

        It is unfortunate that US law appears not to have the necessary power, if the Monopoly trial had been in the UK, Bill would never have become a Sir, because he, and several others, would have gone to jail for perjury and contempt of court, and maybe some conspiracy charges also.

    • Re:Go IBM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by miffo.swe ( 547642 )
      Ibm evil?

      They gave the PC OS market away to Bill Gates. They gave the PC to anyone who wanted to clone it. How much would a PC cost today if it wasnt for IBM deciding that releasing the PC instead of drag in court for years?

      I like IBM and i dont know why there are so many people whining about them. They have handled their position on the top eons better than MS have done.
      • Re:Go IBM (Score:4, Informative)

        by tcr ( 39109 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:39PM (#9249300)
        They gave the PC to anyone who wanted to clone it.

        IIRC, they wanted the basic components of the PC to be mass produced by anyone and therefore dirt cheap, but wanted to retain control of the architecture through the copyright they held on the BIOS.

        Worked well until Compaq reverse engineered a legitimate version of the BIOS, and others like Phoenix followed.

        (ps. A quick Google to check my memory reveals that a company called Columbia Data Products produced a clean room version of the BIOS shortly before Compaq in '82).
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:22PM (#9249069) Journal
      Why take two evil companies (MS/Intel) into my computer when I can take only one?

      I prefer my evil to come from a company with a long history of evil. IBM got the history. Would you trust some tiny little upstart or a company that is now in its 3rd century of spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Denial? MS is still learning Slight-anxiety, Bit-of-doubt and Feeble-counter-argument.

      Also the penguin logo is so much cooler. You can make him cute and cuddly or a fearsome killer penguin.

      MS got some four colored thingy and a butterfly. Tsk. Might as well use a fruit and really show what kinda customers you expect to attract.

      Anyone else find it humorous that MS logo is a bug?

    • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:07PM (#9249646)
      Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were lots of different kinds of micro-computers. There were Atari 800s and STs, Commodor 64s, 128s, and Amigas, TIs, Sinclairs, KayPros, the mighty TRS80, and lots of others including the Apple and the IBM PC. One of them had an open architecture that allowed other manufacturers to build things called "clones". The clone wars followed.

      Now the dominant archtecture is the one that IBM pretty much gave away (yes, I remember there were lawsuits). Apple is hanging on, and the others are gone. The final blow to IBM dominance was when they tried a closed architecture with the self-administered nut-job of the PS/2 bus. (I owned a Model 50.) IBM is a lot of things, but hardware monopolist isn't it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:33AM (#9248370)
    They don't make money off of selling linux but they do make money off of linux. Just look at thier linux offerings []
    • They sell a lot of servers running linux and they provide support for them. Those are 2 big areas they make money off linux.

      They also have a powerful operating system to use with putting not nearly the effort needed for their own proprietary OS with that kind of power.
    • by -cman- ( 94138 ) <{xc.namc} {ta} {namc}> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:00PM (#9248744) Homepage
      IBM is using the old Gillete (sic) business model. Give the razor (OS) away for free and make money on the blades (hardware, services). The other, current high-stakes gamble on this age-old business model is the iPod/iTunes store, but that turns the blade/razor model on its head; make little or nothing on the blades/songs and make more per unit on the razor/player.

      The article points out that this is a high-risk gamble because IBM's agressive feeding of the OSS movement may be sowing the seeds of their failure. MySQL and JBoss are two excellent examples of how OSS can undercut IBM's own or partners' products. Although only the really large firms can afford in-house experts to boot-strap them in these technologies, those are excatly the cash cows IBM would like to benefit from under this strategy. Are they looking more downmarket?

      At the end of the day, succeed or fail, IBM has done a world of good for the anti-MS, pro OSS, pro-Linux movements. I consider that a Good Thing(tm). It would be nice if it worked out for IBM too but, hey as someone who works in those areas, I'll win either way. :)
  • does this mean.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by js3 ( 319268 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:34AM (#9248373)
    does this mean that ibm considers microsoft to be winning the battle for web based software?
  • News? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:34AM (#9248386)
    "IBM has a broader agenda--undermining Bill Gates' company in the battle for a new $21 billion market for Web-linked software."

    What? You say IBM has an agenda? They don't support Linux just to spread peace and love and free software? Quick, stop the presses!!!
    • Re:News? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bcmm ( 768152 )
      Linux users are not the only ones harmed by Microsoft's monopoly. IBM is just using Linux as it's weapon against Microsoft. If in the process IBM can be Linux users' weapon against Microsoft, that seems OK to me. Corporations don't just do good things for no profit, it's just that sometimes they might have an agenda thats compatible with ours.
  • Market "Standards" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:35AM (#9248395) Homepage Journal
    Anything that can undermine Microsoft's ability to come up with vendor-lockin monopolistic "standards" is a good thing in my book. If a user wants to run a machine that lets her do anything and everything that the hardware is capable, without DRM, without Activation, without upgrade fees, without limiting her to ancient versions, then it should be her prerogative.
    • Wrong. (Score:3, Funny)

      by 2names ( 531755 )
      Trading one monopoly for another makes no sense. Kind of like what we Americans do every four years or so with our one bad thing for another.
  • by Soukyan ( 613538 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:35AM (#9248399)
    With the announcement of IBM's new per user subscription model web applications (last week, was it?), I can see how this is a certain possibility. What better way to promote platform independence than to market an alternate operating system AND show off your new web apps in use on it? Intelligent marketing for Big Blue.
  • by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:36AM (#9248418)
    They could do it a lot faster by making the pieces that regular people ( ie not slashdot users ) still miss when they look at the linux desktop.

    Microsoft still gets most of its strength from vendor lock based on windows.

    Give people an alternative desktop that asks no sacarfice on their part and you kill the giant.

    IBM has the resources to do this.

  • more to it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mpost4 ( 115369 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:37AM (#9248428) Homepage Journal
    I hear once from a IBM guy that they did not like MS because when they were working on a clustering system, they had asked MS to add a feature to windows, MS said we would get back to you, and never did, IBM felt that MS just brushed them off, so they went with Linux. And thus creating bad blood.

    2 of the computer industry giants are squaring off, I wonder who will win if they get in to a no hold back fight, could be fun to watch.
  • In 2004.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by M-2 ( 41459 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:39AM (#9248457) Homepage
    IBM is gonna Kill Bill.

    The fifth ad campaign by Quentin Tarantino.

    Starring David Carradine [] as Bill Gates
    Michael Madsen [] as Steve Ballmer
    Uma Thurman [] as The Bride (Tove Torvalds, avenging her dead husband Linus, her reign of bloody revenge sponsored by IBM)

    and Chiaki Kuriyama [] as Gogo NT, the prototype Microsoft Killing App. (because really, when you're dealing with this stuff, you need a killer android, preferably Japanese in a schoolgirl outfit, for the sheer surrealism factor.)

  • by jbellis ( 142590 ) * <jonathan.carnageblender@com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#9248460) Homepage
    I thought this was more insightful than most:
    Indeed, all the billions IBM has pumped into Linux so far haven't bought it a dominant market position. IBM ranks third among sellers of x86-based Linux computers, with a 20% share, versus 28% for HP and 22% for Dell, says market researcher IDC. Rivals gloat that IBM's snazzy Linux ads are driving business to them, not IBM. HP claims it did $2.5 billion in Linux-related sales last year (25% more than IBM) and has done it without alienating Microsoft. "IBM has taken a religious view. Their message is Linux, Linux, Linux. Microsoft understands HP is not running a religious jihad," says Martin Fink, vice president of Linux at HP.

    Sounds like IBM's ROI could be higher if their marketing were smarter. Then again, does it matter to OS if HP gets more Linux business than IBM does?

    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#9248601) Homepage
      IBM ranks third among sellers of x86-based Linux computers

      That's a bit of an artifical segment though, isn't it? IBM do heavy virtualisation in their OS390 range (err...z series or whatever badge they want to slap on it today), then there's the AS/400s and the POWER range of chips and servers...much more to IBM's push than knocking out dual-Opteron web servers.

      I'm not at all surprised the cheaper x86 box shifters sell more than IBM do. Cheap box shifting isn't what IBM is about.


  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#9248476) Homepage Journal
    Remember, IBM is prone to the same sorts of behaviors as Microsoft.

    They are not doing this out of kindness, and if IBM can take advantage of the situation down the road, they will.

    Just be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

  • Kill Bill (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tyler Durden ( 136036 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#9248478)
    "Looked dead, didn't I? But I wasn't. But it wasn't from lack of trying, I can tell you that. Actually, Bill's last OS put me in a coma - A coma I was to lie in for four years. When I woke up, I went on what the movie advertisements refer to as a 'roaring rampage of revenge.' I roared. And I rampaged. And I got bloody satisfaction. I've squashed a hell of a lot of competitors to get to this point, but I have only one more. The last one. The one I'm driving to right now. The only one left. And when I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill."

    (Apologies to Tarantino)
  • Free as in beer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:43AM (#9248495) Homepage
    Linux is perfect for a service-based company like IBM:
    + Even if it gets 99% marketshare: no anti-monopoly lawsuits.
    + Total control: build in whatever feature you need for your business.
    + Cheap: concentrate on what YOU need, let somebody else write a driver for that USB toothbrush.
  • Both Sides (Score:5, Insightful)

    If and until IBM adopts Linux across the board themselves, it appears that they're talking out of both sides of their mouth. This came up before, and a number of IBMers said that it was impossible to get off of Microsoft entirely, mostly due to Windows specific apps (such as MS Project)--that may be so, but then how do you reasonably expect the rest of the world to adopt Linux?

    And it's bullshit anyways--I understand IBM to have more than a few of their own coders. With enough will, you could rewrite the apps that you need, and then release them back to the OSS community, and the world will indeed thank you for making a migration from MS possible, for themselves as well.

    Frankly, it'd be like going to Apple and finding that they all use Vaios. Hint: they don't. They do use MS applications, but they do so on Macs, like Office. And those that don't work on Macs--like the POS system for their retail stores--they port so that they do. What do you think would happen to sales of Macs if the you walked in and saw an IBM POS at the checkout counter at the Apple Store?

    IBM has the opportunity and the resources to make their migration from Windows to OSS fodder for whitepapers and PR for decades to come. It's illustrative that they haven't yet, and I think it's a cautionary tale for any other company considering the same move.
    • Re:Both Sides (Score:3, Interesting)

      by falconed ( 645790 )
      If and until IBM adopts Linux across the board themselves, it appears that they're talking out of both sides of their mouth.

      If they and everyone else adopt Linux across the board, we'd just have another monopoly (albeit a much better one IMHO). IBM is promoting Linux as a matter of choice -- users should not be monopolized by one company; they should be able to choose what software they want to run.

  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:43AM (#9248501)
    IBM is trying to get back in the game in a big way.

    Federal: for years Sun, SGI, MS and select other companies (including IBM) have had a hold on the federal sector. IBM wants a much bigger piece of that pie as they see $$$$ there. They see their WebSphere and DB2 pillars as major ROI in this sector to the point that they are practically giving the HW away for free if you go the WAS/DB2

    Commericial/Corp: MS on the desktop and probably a heterogeous backend network. Does IBM think they can surplant MS on the corporate desktop? Not if they continue to use Lotus notes, et. al. IMHO. MS has them beat there, but could there be a major rework or even junking of those tools with existing OSS projects? I don't know the answer here, but by at least getting Linux in the backend, they protect themselves against a full corporate MS monopoly.

    Plus there has always been an uneasy interaction between some of the IBM products and the MS OS. I remember that patching Windows 2000 with a hotfix actually did something to the Windows kernel that prevented IHS (IBM's repackaging of apache) server from running smoothly. IBM would them have to patch IHS to get it working again. I suspect that they didn't really care for those types of tug-a-wars, intentional or not.
  • by csirac ( 574795 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:45AM (#9248535)
    Though IBM did not invent Linux, does not distribute it and earns nary a penny on it

    Has IBM ever made money on an operating system? I thought it was generally understood that IBM's business was selling "solutions"; the whole kit - hardware, services, support, customization, consulting.

    Does OS400 run on an IBM AS390 mainframe? (serious question!)

    An operating system is just part of the package for IBM - they obviously like Linux for small/medium business environments; people are probably less scared of Linux than AIX/OS400/etc, since there is probably more (and cheaper) non-IBM support for Linux based solutions. I guess in that sense, Linux is the Windows of the Unix world as far as support goes - everyone and their dog knows it.

    Whether it's running Linux or not, you're still going to pay through the nose for an IBM kit. I honestly can't see how spending money/resources on Linux could be directly aimed at Microsoft any more than if they spent it on AIX. Perhaps Linux just gives them more bang for buck and makes business sense?
  • no shit, sherlock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:45AM (#9248536) Homepage

    But according to Forbes, IBM has a broader agenda...

    Yes. This is because IBM is what we call a "company" which exists to make money. Obviously there's a profit motive. This isn't some dark secret.

    I'll say this about the article, though, it's pretty good for a Lyons piece. Looks like he finally was able to dig his head out of his ass.

  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:46AM (#9248561) Homepage Journal
    IBM may be spending billions on Linux, but none of it is helping me. Every retailer who has looked at Linux at point of sale has run up against the same problem: lack of device drivers.

    It really wouldn't make a dent in IBM's Linux budget to provide drivers for the most common peripherals attached to their registers. They need to do it now, or Embedded XP (which is not a bad product) is going to become entrenched, and so continue Microsoft's rise in the POS operating system space.
    • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:06PM (#9248825) Homepage
      so continue Microsoft's rise in the POS operating system space.

      Doesn't MS already have the lead in the Piece O' Sh*t operating system space?

      Oh you mean Point Of Sale... oops my bad.

    • Device drivers for what? Most UPC and credit card scanners still spit out to a serial port. What kind of peripherals are you referring to? I can't think of many reasons why there would be too many problems with POS peripherals, considering that many of them still even use DOS.
      • Serial printer
        Handheld scanner
        Flatbed scanner
        2x20 customer display
        Cash drawer
        PIN pad
        Scales .. and so on

        You're right. Many of these are serial devices. But most retailers and most ISVs have gone down the path of allowing the hardware supplier to write the drivers (OPOS, or JavaPOS, or other) with the result that if such drivers don't exist, the retailers and ISVs no longer have the expertise in house to write them.

        IBM does have such expertise, and while it may be harder for them to write a driver for a Sym
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:47AM (#9248571) Homepage
    ...I am starting to get the idea that IBM just might have it in for Microsoft somehow. :) Bahahahaha!

    Actually, none of this was new to me except that I didn't realized all of this was happening on such a grand scale! I've seen the TV ads but it just didn't register to me that it was costing them loads of money... (of course it does... I just don't think about it)

    I agree that Microsoft should be taken down to the point that they actually have to work and toil to make a good product but it makes me wonder if IBM thinks it can control Linux. Could they be that stupid?

    So IBM doesn't care what platform it runs its wares and services on. They make loads of money on their service contracts. I should hope that their business model doesn't change. If it doesn't then the Linux community has nothing to fear at all in my opinion.

    Still, it would be interesting to know what portion of this effort stems from simple and pure hatred of Microsoft. Microsoft screwed IBM more than once in the past...
  • IBM, HP and DELL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheeny ( 730803 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:47AM (#9248575)

    IBM are pro Linux whereas DELL and HP are selling Linux just to keep certain customers happy but are ultimately MS puppies.

    "HP recommends Microsoft Windows XP for business" is all too often in adverts for their hardware and they couldn't be more in each other's pockets (HP and MS). But this is business and HP and DELL will do whatever it is that makes them the most money without putting themselves in 'jeopardy'.

    Whereas IBM has a history of conflict with MS and are in no way trying to keep in the MS good books. Linux is the perfect vehicle for them to sell services and at the same time disrupt the MS server (and soon desktop) monopoly.

    When a company advertises Linux on TV you know they are serious about it.

    Good for them.
    • this is a little OT...

      ...IBM blasts Linux commercials on television; one spot likens Linux to an omniscient child prodigy who resembles Eminem.

      IBM's next commercial:
      May I have your attention please?
      Will the real Linus Torvalds please stand up?
      I repeat, will the real Linus Torvalds please stand up?
      We're gonna have a problem here...

  • Canopus Research? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#9248593)
    "Companies are getting bamboozled into this IBM story," says William F. Zachmann, a longtime IBM-watcher and the president of Canopus Research in Duxbury,Mass. "IBM snookers them in by giving them a free operating system, then they pay IBM for overpriced hardware and consulting services."

    "IBM's Linux pitch is either stupid or insincere. I think it's a little bit of both. It's not a sensible strategy for IBM in the long run," Zachmann says.

    I wonder if we can see any biases in Canopus [] research?

  • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#9248606) Homepage
    For those who do not know, Daniel is a overly Microsoft friendly reporter. He has written several anti-Linux articles and has been very pro-SCO in the Linux Vs. SCO battle. He has written masterpieces like the "What SCO Wants SCO Gets" available at: tml []

    Daniel Lyons of Frobes is up there with Laura Didio and Rob Enderle when it comes to having a clue about anything. These people are mostly pens for hire who will do or say anything to make a buck. I would highly encourage the Slashdot editors to put these people on ignore.

  • Nary a penny? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by telstar ( 236404 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:51AM (#9248628)
    "Though IBM did not invent Linux, does not distribute it and earns nary a penny on it"
    • IBM may not earn a penny to
    • sell Linux, but they sure rake in a ton of money providing consulting services to run Linux ... and that's not a one-time charge ... that's monthly. So basically, somebody else writes an OS ... they get to deploy it for free ... and they reap the benefits of providing administrative services for the OS.

  • by eltoyoboyo ( 750015 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:51AM (#9248632) Journal
    "IBM's Linux pitch is either stupid or insincere. I think it's a little bit of both. It's not a sensible strategy for IBM in the long run," Zachmann says."

    I am not so sure about that. In 2001 Thomas Schenk's article compared Linux with AIX [] and found it wanting in terms of enterprise support. Clearly Linux has come a long way since then.

    In 2003, Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM's Software Group said Linux is the logical successor to AIX []

    For the customers, it sure would be nice not to have to pay AIX licensing fees.
  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:03PM (#9248786)
    Linux is an "enabler" in PHB speak.

    e.g.,1759,1240127,00. as p

  • by SuperCal ( 549671 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:05PM (#9248817) Homepage
    No matter how advanced the poduct is all of it eventually becomes a commodity, if the market is big enough. Once that happens, its very difficult for the providers of that product to control the industries it supplies. IBM is trying to jump-start the process(well I think it has already started, and IBM is just speeding it up) so it can capture more control in the direction of the computer/IT industry.

    Of cource, thats all in the article... but I like the way I said it better. I've been reading about successfully manageing business in a changing market, by understanding the process in which a new technology becomes a commodity.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:07PM (#9248839)
    There has never been another company in the history of the world to spend so much money, trying to make only a little money. How many iterations of this battle do we have to witness before IBM concedes that they will never, ever beat Microsoft at this game?

    Web-linked software? Linked to what? Probably XAML and Avalon, thats what. IBM's got 50 customers like Munich? They would need 50,000 like that to make Redmond sweat. I know that Microsoft is hated here, but SOMEBODY is spending that money on them. (best quarter ever)

    Sooner or later, some smart company is going to understand how Microsoft makes all that damn money, and stop telling themselves that they can win by just changing the rules.

    The rules are:

    Own the desktop

    Provide the best-of-breed apps for that desktop

    Own the developers who support that desktop

    Own the contracts with those who supply those desktops

    Leverage the desktop in every other market

    Club competitors over the head with your 50+billion until they run to new markets and stop competing in yours.

    Die Rich.

  • by drdreff ( 715277 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:07PM (#9248841) Homepage Journal
    The new era of web-enabled applications is available now and to date is not powered by Microsoft. Using technologies like Laszlo Systems' [] LPS you can hook a web-deployed desktop app up to any number of XML based web services. This is the whole point of Longhorn and XAML. M$ was scared of Netscape because it made Windows irrelevant, then frightened by Java for the same reason, now they're trying to grab this new space before it matures. Thankfully they're doing too little too late and this genie is out of the bottle. SVG and XUL are cool but won't be good enough in time to stop the juggernaut.
    Laszlo has it working now, and the apps run in 98% of the computers and devices hooked to the internet today. All IBM needs to do is add the final piece of the software stack together with DB/2, WebSphere, Linux and the client (Laszlo) then both .Net and Longhorn become totally irrelevant.
  • Evil Redux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fzammett ( 255288 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:16PM (#9248965) Homepage
    How are all the Linux boosters out there going to feel when you wind up trading one dictator for another?

    People want to get rid of Microsoft, or at least greatly decrease their power, so much so (and to a large extent for good reason) that you can't see that IBM will take their place in a heartbeat if they can.

    Many of you may be too young to remember the days when "no one ever got fired for buying IBM" because IBM ruled the computing world, flat out. Hell, *I* don't even remember those days personally, but I've heard the stories from people that were there, and IBM was in most ways just as bad as Microsoft. They used pressure sales tactics, made deals with companies that weren't in anyones' best interests but their own, and generally didn't play fair in many instances. They'll pull the same tactics out of their hate and monopolize the world just as surely as Microsoft has, first chance they get.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. IBM is setting themselves up to again prove that cliche true, and so many people don't have a problem with it because Microsoft is the defeated other party.

    Be careful what you ask for folks... you just might get it.
    • Re:Evil Redux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eddiegee ( 236525 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:42PM (#9249344)
      How are all the Linux boosters out there going to feel when you wind up trading one dictator for another?

      Well, If I think that IBM is getting too big for its britches I can go talk to HP, Dell, or for that matter Red Hat or Suse. To be a dictator you have to have absolute power. With Linux no one can ever have absolute power. I will always have choices, up to and including rolling my own distro if need be. The only way now to give someone like IBM absolute power is to sign your company's life away with a comprehensive support contract, and no one is forcing you to do that.

    • Re:Evil Redux (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lawpoop ( 604919 )
      All we are looking for at this point is free software. We really don't care what kind of sucky deals IBM makes with Fortune 500 companies -- as long as we can jump of the windows bandwagon and onto free software, we're good.

      IBM can't put the GPL genie back in the bottle. Sure, after eveyone's on Linux, they might roll out their own unix that runs DB2 better, but they're only aiming for the corporate users. At that point we have already broken free of MS in the home.

  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:19PM (#9249011)
    Easy moderators: The title is meant to be provocative, not an endorsement. Please read further.

    It's good IBM is spending the resources to make Linux a more viable competitor to M$. Go IBM Go!

    That said, what is it that keeps "Windows" synonymous with "computer" in the minds of the important people (CIOs, managers, grandmas)? Marketing. Remember, it's not Outlook, it's *Microsoft* Outlook. It's not Exchange2003, it's *Microsoft* Exchange2003. Microsoft made an important decision to have their products be inseperable from the Microsoft brand. It's all Microsoft, regardless of what you're using. Got a PC? Unless you built it yourself, you probably have (or had) a "Designed for Windows" sticker on there somewhere. And notice that on those dark cases that Dell, IBM, etc. are using now, what do you see? A big dark box with a colorful sticker. It's like the seal of quality, an assurance that you're getting something easy and familar (actual experience may differ from promise).

    What we need, and what IBM's endorsement has not yet brought, is that same "promise of quality" that can be readily understood by anyone and *trusted* by everyone. Face it, with Windows, you know what you're getting, for good or ill. Linux just doesn't have that yet. Maybe it's the fragmentation of distros (Suse likes KDE, Redhat likes Gnome, etc.) As we can see over and over again, people don't buy the superior product, they buy the product they have been convinced into buying.

    As an analogy, I offer this from my own life: I was in the store buying groceries. I needed peanut butter for sandwiches. I've been a lifelong JIF user, but JIF is kind of expensive. So I'm checking out the generics and store brands. All a bit cheaper, but not too much, and frankly, I don't know anything about them. They could taste better than JIF, but I don't want to be stuck with an open jar of crap peanut butter if it doesn't. The price isn't much different, so I suck it up and buy the JIF; I just don't want to run the risk of being disappointed. In my mind, JIF is the gold standard and until I am convinced otherwise *by external forces* I am probably not going to change. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I am afraid of being disappointed and out some $ for a failed experiment.

    Thus, I believe we need something, someone, to create that buzz that will usurp the idea that Windows is the good, safe choice. If I can get my grandma to ask for a pc and know that she wants Linux, and not Windows, then I think we will truly have succeeded.
  • by geirt ( 55254 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:30PM (#9249169)
    I have tried to contact IBM to get specs for their wonderful hard disk active protection system (warning: flash animation) []. Emailing IBM was hopeless, just standard replies about contacting IBM HQ, but without any contact information. I tried to call IBM but I could not even speak to someone who had any clue about what I was talking about.

    The system is basically an accelerometer which monitor the movements of the laptop, and spins down the HD when there is a risk of impact. I would like to write a Linux driver for it, but I refuse to reverse engineer the windows driver. More info here []

  • by DeckerEgo ( 520694 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:31PM (#9249198) Homepage
    The truth to the matter is probably that IBM has come to the realization that OS/400 on their AS/400 (or eSeries or whatever) line is coming to an end in the very, very near future. DB2/400 performance absolutely sucks, WebSphere performance and management blows, and simple things like filesharing or creating services are such a pain in the butt that no one would bother.

    My current employer [] used to make loads off of AS/400 and System/36 work, but lately everyone has come to the realization that cheaper hardware and OS'es can do things better, faster and just as reliably. Four years ago the mantra was that "you know an AS/400 will never go down!" But after the latest rounds of PTFs, services packs and OS upgrades have wrecked havoc on working installations people have taken a second glance at that opinion.

    The AS/400 is a great piece of hardware, no doubt. Their RAID controllers, massive RISCs and reliable hardware are fantastic for stable servers with 24/7 uptime. But OS/400 just can't take advantage of it. If you want to have hardware abstraction to the point that Sys/36 code from 1960 can still run you just aren't going to milk all the performance points you can out of the hardware.

    One of the first things IBM did was get Linux running on an AS/400 (now eSeries). And I'm sure it wasn't a hobby project. They've got the hardcore hardware, now they need to get the industry behind a new common OS so they can sweep their OS/400 legacy under the rug. And good riddance, too.

  • by WillWare ( 11935 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:32PM (#9249206) Homepage Journal
    Though IBM did not invent Linux, does not distribute it and earns nary a penny on it, the computer giant is spending billions in a crusade to make Linux the world's most popular operating system.

    This may seem a surprising thing to do, but in fact it makes good sense to commoditize the products that complement your own []. For IBM, a hardware vendor, that's the OS. For Microsoft, an OS vendor, that's hardware.

    For the last twenty years, Microsoft has been extraordinarily successful in commoditizing PC hardware. This has not been good news for IBM (though most of IBM's problems over that time have more to do with a misperception of where the market was going). Now IBM is turning the tables on Microsoft by commoditizing Linux, which if successful, will drive down the price of Windows and make it more affordable to buy computer hardware.

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:51PM (#9249464) Homepage Journal
    IBM trys to overthrow MS with a technically superior OS

    I wonder what lessons both sides learned from the previous round, OS/2 vs Windows?
  • License "Statisfaction" by the Rolling Stones an parody a Microsoft Windows commercial.

    Show various users with BSOD, virus warnings that say they cannot clean the virus, spyware/adware pop-ups, systems that cannot reboot because they say they are missing a file, a system lockup, Windows error reporting happening one after the other, Missing or Invalid DLL errors, a slow moving Windows system, etc.

    Then near the end stop the music, show someone running Linux with no problems, then show a message "Can't get any satisfaction, try a Linux solution by IBM and get some satisfaction!"

    Genius! Brilliant! I am not just saying that because I thought it up! ;)
  • by Eudial ( 590661 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:06PM (#9249637)
    Could this be IBM's revenge against Microsoft for
    ruining their world domination plans (

    Come on, they've gotta be a bit pissed.
  • The Long View (Score:4, Insightful)

    by atcurtis ( 191512 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @03:35PM (#9251559) Homepage Journal
    IBM has always looked at the long view - the short term stuff never really mattered to IBM.

    OS/2's Death was a simple case of smothering the baby because their hands were tied ... In order to be competitive in the consumer PC sales circus, IBM PC-Co signed a deal with MSFT to license the OEM Windows 95... Without that deal, IBM would have to bundle the full retail edition of Windows 95 and it would make their PCs uncompetitive. Unfortunately, the contract had a clause which was the knife which killed OS/2 - IBM could not sell/bundle OS/2 nor could they develop it.

    IBM is basically focusing on what the industry would look like in 10 years time. In the long term, the software is essentially free, consumer hardware is sold at cost (it practically is nowadays) and all the money to be made is in consulting and customizing the software.

    The major benefit of something like Linux is a single architecture which works on a wide range of hardware... from simple embedded low-power systems to high performance clusters. It makes it attractive as the skills are the same on all of them - simply the hardware may be tuned easily for the application.

    When IBM looks at Linux, they see it as a platform which they can launch themselves from. This was how they treated OS/2 - as a vehicle to sell their consultancy. The retail sales of OS/2 never justified it's development costs. However, the retail "public" presence of OS/2 was important: It's very difficult to sell services on top of a system which the customer has not heard of before.
    In many ways, for IBM, Linux is better than OS/2... They do not need to spend so much effort to market it. It already has a penetration into the minds of the public and generally the public perception is "It's free; it's fast; it's secure... sometimes difficult to understand" but the last bit is not a bad hurdle - it just means that the customer already expects to hire someone to put it all together.

    I am pretty sure that IBM makes a lot of its profits in consultancy and custom programming. Ok, their mainframe deals can be pretty sweet for the revenue - but such big iron costs big bucks in the first place. The software front, IBM knows that it can be painful to move faster than the smaller guys (think of IBM as some kind of dancing elephant)... They are using the nimbleness of the FOSS movement to develop the foundation ... all the driver support (the old PITA for OS/2 users) is actively worked on by the community (face it, if peripherial vendors wouldn't write an OS/2 driver, they wouldn't work on a Linux driver either)

    Hmm... Like any long posts, I kinda forgot what my original point was...

May all your PUSHes be POPped.