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IBM's assault on Microsoft 115

Kelly McNeill writes "osOpinion has an excellent editorial piece which talks about IBM's recent refocusing efforts including supporting Linux as well as making alliances with major Linux players in an effort to knock Microsoft from its current standing in the Industry. " It's a good point-although it seems strange sometimes, thinking about the old, bad IBM, and comparing it to now. I hope that we don't forget, however, that ultimately IBM is a company, and they are looking out for themselves.
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IBM's assault on Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's good about competition is that it keeps everyone honest. I don't want any company or entity to dominate the O/S market -- and that includes Linux (sorry guys, I don't trust you either. It's nothing personal. The French Revolution started off as a popular uprising, then next thing you know it's guillotines and Napoleon.). I want everyone taking a good shot at dominating the market, but no one achieving it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have trouble taking OSOpinion too seriously when in the upper-left-hand corner of the page it says hosting is "gratuitiously" provided by so-and-so. Evidently they don't know what "gratuitous" means _or_ how to spell it. Plus, their habit of making links dark purple is highly annoying - it makes them look like you've already visited all of them. (There's a perfectly good convention for links; why do people feel compelled to break it for no particular reason?)

    I did like the fact that the author comes out and states his (potential) biases, though.

    Moderators, please feel free to mark this comment down. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work at the big blue company in research. Some here don't like microsoft as evidenced by cartoons, quotes and other such things stuck to doors. They make us use it.

    Micorsoft isn't liked at other companies though.

    If you've been following the anti-trust trial, Microsoft really stuck it to IBM. Of course IBM doesn't want to be totally dependent on 1 vendor for anything, especially when you have a hostile relationship with that vendor. It makes good business sense.

    IBM loses money on PC hardware. There are rumors of them droping out and just suppling parts (Dell and Acer and Apple have signed on). The new power books are almost more IBM than apple (Ram, screen, harddrives).
    also big companies have to avoid competing with their clients.

    Would you rather write a word processor for a company that makes the OS and a wordprocessor or one that just makes an OS? Which company would give you more support?

    IBM makes more and more $ on consulting and support. They really can impliment solutions well and so having them impliment and support linux is a BIG win for linux and IBM. IBM gets a stable OS to impliment, Linux gets tested / legitimized by many IBM projects.

    just my 2 cents..

  • Bah... I agree that any single company or distribution maker shouldn't dominate the market, but Linux as a whole most definitely should. The market wins when there is only one operating system to port software to and support, but when that one OS is controled by one company, everyone loses. Linux is free and open, and can NEVER be dominated by one company!
  • If the GPL is overturned in court standard copyright applies and whomever has the most successful closed version of a Linux-derived OS will be violating copyright law and will have to pull it from the shelves.
  • Posted by Phantom of the Operating Syste:

    Linux started starved for apps, then GNU tools came along. The GNU tools compile under Be without a hitch. You are greeted with BASH as a terminal, for goodness sake.

    What Be offers is multiprocesing support for your programs without you having to write special code to take advantage of this. Sounds like a developer's dream to me.

  • Apple is primarily a hardware company. Hence, they've been quite supportive of Linux on Mac hardware because it sells Mac boxes to people who want good hardware and don't care about certain x86-only Linux features. (Namely, apps only ported to x86 and gamers.) If LinPPC boxes ever got decent hardware and games, I'd buy one for my next box. Unfortunately, almost all Linux games are x86 only, and Apple's love affair with bottom-of-the-barrel chipset vendor ATI doesn't help.
  • I used to hate IBM with a passion back in the days when I had to deal mainframes. Now i've refocused all my bad vibes on M$ :) and kind of think of IBM as pretty cool. Look at the good things coming out of alphaworks, such a jikes. Now if they would just scrap AIX in favour of Linux, they would be great.

    Who knows maybe in the future someone even more evil than microsoft will come along and I'll feel the same way about them.
  • You seem to forget who gives these corporations the ability to wield such power over us and each other. The government. The government allows them to own patents and copyrights. The government allows them to incorporate and receive those advantages. The government keeps them from getting screwed over in other countries.

    What does the government ask of them? Play by the rules that have been laid down. Pay the taxes that are required of you.

    It doesn't matter what other companies are doing in the real world. You break the law and get caught, you are the one who will pay. It's like that for regular people as well as corporations. Sure, sometimes they get away with things. Happens all the time, and not just in business. It's not perfect and it's not always fair, but it's the best we have been able to do. Microsoft screwed up and got caught. It looks like they may end up paying the price now.

  • There was a /. story a while back about this. Check out this story: /01/10/1814250.shtml []

  • I was under the impression that the Windows emulation in OS/2 was pretty good. If IBM really wanted to hurt Microsoft wouldn't they port that to Linux or at least open source it and let the Wine folks do it? In my mind that's the single biggest thing they could do to speed up the obsoletion of Windows. So, I would question then whether they are driven to hurt Microsoft or whether that is just a nice fringe benefit of their actions.

    Then again, maybe they can't port their emulator because of legal restrictions.
  • First up, this is my view on the *current* IBM. I hear they may have had a shady past (before me following things.. only 22 :P), but I am judging by current events....

    OK, so IBM is a global corporation, that is ultimately looking out for itself.

    Similar to Microsoft, or Microsoft all over again you say?

    There is a difference, IBM is going about things the RIGHT way. Whereas Microsoft uses marketing, pushing glitz over stability, the perpetual hardware upgrades, etc, IBM has been pushing open source and standards compliance.

    If IBM pushing open source results in more open source, and more power to IBM, then so be it.

    Ill be glad for them so long as they continue to do the "right thing".

    Maybe the company has even learned something this time around with regards to what customers really want/need.

    A saying that Microsoft seems to not understand, "Don't shit in your own backyard" springs to mind ;)
  • unfortunately, Larry Ellison would probably kick all three of their asses without breaking a sweat. I hear he's a mean Karate killer.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • IBM and so do you.

    And one of IBM's stinkier turds is Broken Ring.
    If you want more of that (the list goes on, need I reiterate?), keep cheering for IBM.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
    -jafac's law
  • Maybe it will be IBM again :(
  • If DOS had been completely under IBM's control, there never would have been a clone market. (see: Apple.) Which would mean cheap PCs would be hard to come by.


  • One company doesn't want to hurt another if it doesn't serve their goal of profit maximization. Get the idea out of your head that IBM - as a company - wants to hurt Microsoft. Of course, it has employees to whom this applies, but if they give retribution of Microsoft higher priority than making money for IBM, they can go look for another job. This is how it should be.

    So far, IBM's involvement with open source seems to be balanced and well considered. They wanted to make money with an application server, not a web server, so they could build on top of apache. They wanted to push java, so they open-sourced jikes.

    Of course, they also support open source to some degree by selling Netfinity servers with Linux. Instead of saying that they try to get back at Microsoft by doing something like this, I'd rather say that they seek independence and more control over the software they ship. This is weaker than the attitude the article describes.

  • but if you can get it for free you might try it?
  • Have you checked out the price of AIX 4.3 recently? Also, the newest version of OS390 is capable of running unix. Other than that I agree with you.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday June 09, 1999 @06:45AM (#1859044) Homepage Journal

    Who'd have thought in 1985 that IBM would eventually be supporting open standards and a level playing field? How times change!

    Anyway, IBM's desire to take the desktop away from Microsoft is more than just "an axe to grind." IBM knows, just as well as Sun and HP do, that unless Microsoft's desktop monopoly is dislodged, Microsoft will use its modus operandi of "force everything to be integrated" to dominate the server universe as well. That, in turn, destroys the market for AS/400's, RS/6000's, and perhaps even 390's.

    Even in the face of the current DOJ actions, Microsoft is still moving forward to tie things together with even more proprietary glue. Have you checked out Office 2000's server-side extensions? They run on Windows NT servers, of course, and use an MS wire protocol. Suddenly it seems that they were, in fact, listening to Vinod Valoppalil when he suggested the course of de-commoditizing the wire protocols.

    Microsoft has proven that you can't concede anything to them, they won't just stay in one place and let you have a different sector of the industry. IBM and others must dislodge the Microsoft desktop monopoly in order to prevent Microsoft from eventually taking over the entire game.

  • IBM's assault on Micro$oft is not just limited to supporting Linux. IBM is testifying against M$ on the DOJ trial. Methinks M$ is in Deep Shit...

  • "the marketplace" is not the catch-all philosophy on life, which undermines your entire line of argument. If I accept your assertion that government officials and academics don't "get" commercialism, it's because they _shouldn't_ get it. Most modern peoplein this country, when confronted, will say that business is just one of many things that must be balanced to produce a "better" world.
  • yeah like we're going to see gamers and home users switching to Solaris. Linux will peak but it will never scratch the surface of PC users who don't want to deal with /usr/bin/etc nonsense
  • BeOS has an integrated GUI (which linux will never have) and also bash. In fact you can drag icons into the terminal and get the entire path name
  • Many shareware/small software developers don't feel this way. Linux is either getting free stuff or expensive stuff from the big guys like IBM. What about the little guys like Opera? ok Trolltech is probably being nice to them but to other small developers, the QT fees are big bucks. And will linux users even support them? That remains to be seen... In order to have a healthy OS that's not a fad you need free software. You need commercial shrinkwrapped software. You need high-end stuff. But you also need shareware-it's all about supporting the little guys trying to make a few bucks
  • Many many moons ago IBM was a dominator in its class. Then as computers truly became a force for the desktop market, upper managment and lower managment began not to see eye to eye. IBM had so many managment layers that how could anyone hope to get anything done correctly. Too many layers and too much stale upper crust made quite a burning spectacle.

    I am happy to see that big blue is coming back, and doing it in style too. If you ever pick up a discover [] magazine you'll generally note what the ibm labs are working on, and if you stack all the things they've been creating together, you start to see an interesting future where they will deff. play a large role.


  • the only operating system ibm gets any money from now is what runs on their mainframes. and nobody else's software has been ported to as/400 and all the rest of ibm's mainframes. and regardless of what anyone says, ibm does have a vested interest in seeing microsoft go down. hard.

    nobody has any doubt about the kind of ethics bill gates has exhibited in the business world. they screw all their partners. they try to humiliate and grind their potential rivals into dust. and they expand into everything they can.

    as for ibm itself being evil, i think the company has probably learned from its mistakes. when they hired gerstner people were talking about how ibm was going to go bankrupt. do you remember all those news stories, talking about how the big corporations/blue chips were doomed, big spreads comparing ibm to the dinosaurs, etc.

    gerstner turned the whole thing around by razing the rigid corporate culture to the ground and forcing everyone to adapt. it will be a while before ibm is ever that arrogant again. basic corporate cycle:

    1. small company, starts up, everyone works hard
    2. small company kicks ass, people do well
    3. small company becomes big company
    4. management gets arrogant, employees complacent
    5. crisis- company adapts or dies.

    ibm made the jump, but only because of gerstner, and his willingness to question everything (because if you look at his background youll discover that he has NO TECHNICAL BACKGROUND prior to ibm!!!) gerstner was at rjr nabisco before ibm hired him...he knew NOTHING about computers... so he asked lots of questions and brought in some common sense and plenty of humility.

    microsoft has yet to learn that particular lesson. but now it looks like the doj and ibm (and sun, and everyone else) are going to learn 'em some manners. how well microsoft does in the educational process is ultimately a test of the quality of their managers...

  • of all the things that will be said at the next IBeM board meeting, this won't be one of them.

    "So, I figure it's kind of a karma thing for IBM to step up to the plate and help knock down this monster that is largely their own creation."
  • >Linux can be used as more of a tactical approach >for accounts that want something that isn't IBM >hardware and also isn't necessarily from >Microsoft.
    Sure, but they are doing something that Microsoft doesn't: they are looking at what is apprently a tide of real innovation and moving towards it, not to crush it but to use it. We all know that they don't need OS/2, for instance, to make payroll every week - hell, they make cash registers, for god's sake (or did, anyway).

    The point is, they are doing something that is beyond MS- playing the game by someone elses rules, that is to say the rules of the OSS community.
  • IBM sees that Linux and openware pose a viable threat to Microsoft's desktop dominance and have put their considerable weight of resources toward helping it happen. And the openware movement is too decentralized to do a quick 180 and turn against them without cause, which gives IBM an added sense of security in the post-OS/2-fiasco days.

    That's good for openware in general, for the time being.

    But the future is still uncertain. All forces have turned against Microsoft and its fall from dominance seems only a matter of time. Only time will tell what will emerge from the resulting chaos.

  • Don't make the mistaken assumption that the average guy on the street uses Windows because it's "easier" to use that other OSes. A lot of people assume that when Gnome/KDE/whatever makes PCs easy enough for anybody, the average guy on the street will switch to Linux.

    That's a mistake. People use Windows because of the amount of programs written for it, not because it has a pretty interface.

    When app Foo appears for Linux and people need to use it, you can be sure that they'll learn enough Linux to get by very quickly - the same way they learned how to use enough Windows to get by very quickly.

    Because despite Microsoft's propaganda to the contrary, Windows is not trivial to learn for the average guy on the street. For them, learning to double-click on the Netscape icon versus typing "netscape" at a % prompt takes the same amount of effort to learn.

    It's the apps that matter for the users.

  • The Windows emulation in OS/2 is based on Microsoft's source code. IBM has the right to use the Windows 3.1 source code, although they have to pay royalties for each copy of OS/2 that ships with the Windows subsystem. Microsoft designed Windows 95 to be very difficult to run under a foreign operating system. Microsoft has done everything they could to sabotage OS/2. That is part of the reason that they have been pushing Win32 and deprecating Win16. Microsoft wants total control over Windows.
  • So, I figure it's kind of a karma thing for IBM to step up to the plate and help knock down this monster that is largely their own creation.

    IBM has already spent a good deal of money trying to get on top of the PC industry, and all of the efforts have pretty much failed (MCA, OS/2, PowerPersonal). Do you really think that IBM is going to take that on again?

    Outside of certain shops, IBM does not have alot of credibilty in the desktop space. Just look around your office. The only place that IBM has significant desktop market share is Lotus Notes and ccMail, the latter being a dead product.

  • Which doesn't mean they'll do it. If you called up IBM today and said "I want a solution for X, Y, and Z - here's some money, I don't care how you do it."

    You would come in the next day and probably find an AS/400 running Lotus Domino and DB2. Expecting a Netfinity running Linux? Sorry!

    Linux can be used as more of a tactical approach for accounts that want something that isn't IBM hardware and also isn't necessarily from Microsoft.

    (One thing someone should do is a Linux "Small Business Server" like MS and Novell produce. Basically it's a mail server, web server, fax server, firewall, and PPP server all wrapped up and pre-configured with a web admin interface. Basically something that vendors can drop on a small business and then forget about it.)
  • MSDOS Client for TCP/IP is now difficult to find on the MS website. Of course, anything is hard to find on that website. It's probably still on NT disks.

    It is, although it's a horrific install unless you have a network card from 1992 or so. Still highly recommended if you have a Samba enviornment.

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Wednesday June 09, 1999 @06:26AM (#1859060) Journal
    One thing that's become clear over time is that PC operating systems and applications isn't a very profitable business. Sure Microsoft has made a ton of money, but everyone else (Corel, Adobe, Borland, Apple, etc) seems to be just scraping along. If you include MCA and OS/2, IBM probably has a net loss for it's microcomputer endevors, and probably just stays in the business so that they can provide an end-to-end solution.

    Instead, IBM (and Oracle, Sun, etc) have realized that the money is really in the middleware and back-end layers, as well as services. Which is why DB2, Lotus Domino, and Tivoli are much more important (and profitable) than ViaVoice or SmartSuite or OS/2 or anything else IBM could possibly dream up in the desktop space. Microsoft of course has figured this out too, and is trying to scale up Windows and MS SQL as fast as it can.

    What does this have to do with Linux? I doubt IBM really cares about Linux on the desktop (including MWave drivers, KDE, Gnome, Mesa, etc.). Linux gives IBM a way to push cheap application servers and services while avoiding it's reputation for pushing proprietary products and also the dismal future of becoming a second-tier Microsoft solution provider.

    So while IBM might push Linux a bit, it's ultimately just another solution for them to choose from. They certainly aren't going to get into another desktop OS war or try to evangalize any die-hard MS customers.
  • This was mentioned in a leaf, but I thought it was important enough to put at the top.

    In my very limited opinion, the workplace shell was absolutely the best desktop environment ever. I think you could teach people what object-oriented really means by having them work and develop under the WPS. It took me quite a while to move from Win3.1 practices to using WPS, but once I did, it was intuitive to the point of overkill. When Win95 came out, I giggled at what a half-ass, underdesigned effort it was compared to WPS.

    I've never seen a box, but I was under the impression that AIX runs some sort of workplace shell on top of X. I've been hoping that they would open source this code and maybe we could have a truly OO desktop environment to work with.

    Toss all the work with CORBA and distributed computing, and we'd have an even more incredible working environment.
  • A single dominent operating system or a single *anything* will stifle creativity and limit advancement. It's not just about openness. It's about understanding that there is more than one way to attack a problem.

    Just like the old saw: "If all you have is a hammer, than every problems looks like a nail". If all we have is Linux than only Linux solutions will be considdered. Linux may be the wrong tool!
    Worse, the Linux solution may be impractical even though the problem is quite feasible to solve.

    I don't want a generation of programmers to grow up with only one example of an operating system. It's bad enough that today few see beyond Windows, Unix, and Macintosh.
  • What do you mean "bad" ?? For God's sake it is corporation which solely goal is to make money for it's memebers. Simple as that. The only way this company can be "bad" is when it does not bring profits or breaks the law. Anything else is simply business game.
  • I couldn't agree more with you. Of course, many people (DOJ attorney David Boies is one of them) believe that Microsoft's actions are breaking the law. So either way they're bad.

  • I would love to see IBM get back at microsoft and I would love to see an IBM GPL'd version of linux.

    I think the more variants of linux the better, especially from a hardware manufacturer. As long as _ALL_ code was freely available it would be great.

    -- I want to see a linux TV commercial. Just a penguin beating a bill gates look a like to death with a hockey stick would be fine.
  • The way I see it, IBM has a duty to help knock down Microsoft. After all, Microsoft's success in the PC market is largely due to IBM not taking the market seriously. While M$ apologists like to pretend the B.G. is the greatest businessman ever, his current success is due largely to IBM.

    Specifically, I see them making two moves which helped M$. One, they licensed MS-DOS from M$ instead of just buying it outright. IBM certainly had the upper hand in the negotiations, but I don't think they took the PC market seriously. Had they known how large the market was going to become, I am certain they would have bought an OS instead of renting one.

    Second, M$ became a trusted name to business because the letters "IBM" were on the outside of the box. Nobody bought a PC because M$ wrote the OS. They bought them because IBM put their name on them.

    So, I figure it's kind of a karma thing for IBM to step up to the plate and help knock down this monster that is largely their own creation. Of course, if M$ wasn't there, IBM would maybe be the dominant company in the PC business. I think, in hindsight, that we would have been better off. For one, IBM was getting hassled for anit-trust reasons long before M$ was. I think DOJ would have been willing to smack IBM down long ago. Second, PC's would probably be much more reliable. While you can fault IBM for lots of things, you have to admit that they take reliability very seriously.
  • Perhaps rather than "don't have a clue about how business is conducted" you really meant "are thoroughly disgusted about how business is conducted". I still don't believe that even most business is conducted in the thoroughly immoral fashion that you appear to advocate, but I will acknowledge that some, even some major, companies are as morally bankrupt as you imply. I do not and will not work for them. Were I you, I would insist on being paid in advance for any services.
  • Mmm. But unlike any other OS that has a shot at World Domination, Linux's distributions should provide enough competition to keep everyone honest. I believe it's worked so far - Red Hat spoke about how afraid they were of upsetting us, the developers and users. It's relatively easy to change from one distribution to another, so they have to keep us happy.
  • An example of a "bad" company is Microsoft. It's one thing if you compete against other companies, offering a better product / lower price. That's what a free market is all about: consumers are free to choose the products they purchase, and companies are free to choose which products they manufacture, and the price they charge. All fine and dandy.

    Make a better product, offer a better price, fine. Working at destroying your competition through strong-arm tactics is another. I remember one account I heard of Microsoft offering a library a sizable donation, so long as they erased all copies of Netscape from their computers. This is not a company trying to win by offering a better product or a better price.

  • Say what you will about Lotus's generally true...but I'd hardly say IBM hardware is poorly made...
  • /* Insert "16-bit player" joke here */

    How does that go?

    Windows 95 is a 32-bit shell on top of a 16-bit extension of an 8-bit OS written for a 4-bit CPU* by a 2-bit company that doesn't like 1 bit of competition.

    (*) Remember the Intel 4004? Or as one wag put it, inside every Pentium is an i4004 trying to get out.
  • I don't think they can do that. There are two reasons:

    1. the reason OS/2's Windows emulation is so good is because OS/2 was originally co-developed by IBM and MS. This ultimately led to a whole range of cross-licensing agreements for the Windows APIs. Which leads onto #2...
    2. much of the Windows emulation is based on code licensed from MS, which IBM will be legally restrained from publishing.
    Finally, OS/2's Windows emulation doesn't include Win32 so it's probably not much use now in any case.

  • Actually the French revolution didn't began like a popular uprising but have more been the utilisation of the poorer by the middle class.

    But I understand you and I agree with you. I hope their will be a lot of choice (2, 3 or 4 OSes) and i hope that Linux will be one of these.
  • So RedHat, Caldera and the other free Software based companies have no CEO??? That's a big news I think.
  • Let IBM look out for themselves. That's a Good Thing(tm). If they do anything to help Linux, and hurt M$, that too, is a good thing. Yes, IBM was bad in the past, but in light of what M$ has done, do you think anyone will do that again? I don't think they'll be able to. Esp. if the justice dept. is victorious against M$ in court.
    "I have no respect for a man who can only spell a word one way." - Mark Twain
  • I see IBM's support of Open Source to be one example of a shift in the software industry from a "manufacturing" mindset to a "service" mindset. Instead of producing boxes of CD-ROMs, which are worthless in themselves (who doesn't have a CD-R drive these days), IBM creates software as part of a service business, which includes consulting, "e-business" solutions, as they call it, and various levels of technical support. In this business model, open source makes a lot of sense. The software itself is not for sale. It's only part of a larger service package. They can easily let everyone under the sun look at their source with no risk of losing anything. Yes, the source is copyrighted material, but in the same way as a technical manual is copyrighted material. Obfusicating source code makes about as much sense, in the IBM "e-business" model, as selling PCs without letting anyone see a manual or open the case.
  • "Microsoft was just another bit player...."

    "bit" player. heh.

    /* Insert "16-bit player" joke here */
  • I went to the OpenLinux Tour yesterday in D.C. Caldera, IBM, and Oracle get together to talk to VARs about partnering with them. The gist of why they are partnering? No, not to bring down M$ (although, to play to the crowd they did throw some jabs into their commentary). It has to do with numbers from an IDC study showing linux has 17% market share of _all_ the network OSs. This plus the fact that you can sell the same hardware running either Linux or NT. They get the VAR to sell their Netfinity solution (in the case of IBM) so IBM can get into the market early. Why should the VARs do it? They can make a higher MARGIN on profits because they aren't buying an OS and adding their markup to it. Remember the VARs have their 30-50% markup on _everything_ they sell. So if there is one less piece they pay for (the OS) they can sell a system for the same price and have higher profit OR they can sell a system for lower price and the same profit but undercut their competitors.

  • IBM is a commericial, for-profit company, but is that so bad? Yes, IBM will have it's own interests at heart. However, every company has it's own interests at heart whenever it forms partnerships with other for-profit companies as well, and yet, it's possible for them to both away better off than how they started. Just becuase something is open-source does not mean it's any less true.
  • > If you include MCA and OS/2, IBM probably has a
    > net loss for it's microcomputer endevors

    Get real. IBM raked in the dough for years off the PC, XT and AT. OS/2 was a drop in the bucket. I doubt they lost money on MCA. It was quite popular for a while (it had well over half the high end even after EISA had been out for a year or so).

    > [they] just stays in the business so that they
    > can provide an end-to-end solution.

    Yep. IBM PC software was always a loser. Remember PageWriter? First Wordstar beat it, then Word Perfect. They finally put it to bed before M$ Office walked all over everything. They only kept it so long as it was strategicly important to have a "one-stop solution".

    > Linux gives IBM a way to ... avoiding ... the
    > dismal future of becoming a second-tier
    > Microsoft solution provider.

    IBM has forgotten more about providing solutions that Microsoft will ever know. The reason they're investing in Linux is to distract Microsoft from the real prize, the business enterprise. While Microsoft wastes effort combatting the threat from the low end, IBM gets freer run of the more profitable high end.
  • You ever try to sell something to the government?

    If you got a good computer by last year's standards at last year's market price, I'd say that IBM did a pretty fair job. Somebody has to pay for the mating dance vendors do with the procurement folks. Sure, its lucrative, but there is the risk you can pour man years down the government rathole and have nothing to show for it.
  • I used a copy of Compaq OS/2 ver 1.0, on an ISA machine.
  • Funny, the aurthor of that article said that he uses Windows at work and Linux at home:) but he's probably a techie.

    I want to get BeOS, but I want to run professional MIDI/Audio Apps and these are only in the development stages. After they come out, I'll be first in line to get it and replace my Mac.

    (It still doesn't boot as fast as a C64;)
  • IBM is buying Whistle, the makers of the Interjet, which is a FreeBSD-based small-office internet box like the Cobalt Qube.

    So it looks like IBM will be supporting two open operating systems, indirectly at least.
  • The $64 question is howcome so many were willing ot shell out $128 to get this OS?
  • I see a movie parody: Imagine the role of Obi wan Kenobi to be played by IBM, Darth Vader to be played by Microsoft and Luke Skywalker to be played by Linux.

    IBM brings Microsoft under its wings to join forces to battle the new threat to the empire: Apple and Commodore.

    Microsoft is lured into the dark side of the source:

    IBM loses the battle for the empire and Microsoft emerges as the new emperor. IBM leaves to the barren wasteland of OS/2.

    A NEW HERO arrives on the scene to do battle for world dominion against the evil empire: Linux.

    IBM sees the potential in this new hero and pulls out its trusty lightsaber/(cooperates with DOJ) and comes along side Linux to say: USE THE SOURCE.

    The evil emperor is defeated and a new period of freedom and prosperity emerges from the command prompt.

    Okay, it's a fantasy and has no bais in reality, but the Dark Side of Business is the temptation to establish a monoply.
  • I couldn't agree more. I admit it did take a bit of getting used to after the Mac and crappy windows, but I do think a new user would find it easier because everything was consistent. I never even began to explore the full potential, but was often impressed with what it could do. None of the problems of dead shortcuts because you renamed a file!

    It was the reason (along with stability, especially with watchcat installed) that I stuck with OS/2 until the apps I needed to run required NT.
  • The article, while pointing out that IBM's software take was in the range of 14% of total revenue, didn't mention that a huge percentage of IBM's software sales are in the licensing of software for 390 mainframes, AS/400's, RS/6000's, and SP2's. They have *very* little to lose in pulling the desktop and small server software rug from under Micros~1.

    All I can say is "You go, IBMer's!"
  • I don't think I would ever have expected the phrase "IBM is mainly a service company" to be used with a straight face by anyone, if you'd asked me in 1989.

    This strikes me just as humorous as seeing a Micro$oft ad on TV that basically states, "You should use M$ products because we're the established brand." Same attitude as IBM back in the day. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
  • I would have to disagree with your comment about wanting to "hurt Microsoft." Please excuse the length of this post, but it's necessary to adaquately explain myself. For any firm to MAXIMIZE its profits, it must be a monopoly. This is a fundamental tenet of economics and business strategy, so I'll spare you some words here. If IBM wants to INCREASE profits, it should, over the long term, seek to increase its MARKET POWER. Note that a monopoly has COMPLETE MARKET POWER. Now, if Microsoft has a lot of market power, and IBM wants to exist within an industry that Microsoft is in, IBM must do one of two things - either increase the size of the industry, or decrease the market power of a competitor. Said another way, IBM want's to decrease their dependence on Microsoft. (as you stated/alluded to) Therefore, I would argue that IBM does indeed want to "hurt Microsoft." My word choice might not have been all that great, but I believe that the fundamental premise of hurting Microsoft (i.e. damaging Microsoft's market power) is correct. Thanks for the feedback! -Mark
  • by Paradox !-) ( 51314 ) on Wednesday June 09, 1999 @06:39AM (#1859092) Homepage
    Sm@rtReseller got wind of such a strategy last year.
    Here's a link to the article [] that outlines IBM's desire to support Netscape and Java against MS and basically declare war on MS at the desktop. FASCINATING read. I highly recommend it.

    Excerpt: "What does all that mean? In a nutshell, the paper says IBM is striving to keep corporate desktops open by teaming with Netscape Communications Corp. to position Java applications
    against Microsoft's COM/DCOM object model, "which locks customers into Windows on both the client and the server."

    IBM hopes to ensure that 50 percent of PCs in 2003 are capable of running 100% Pure Java applications. "We will accomplish this by helping Netscape remain a major player on the desktop and
    ensuring the 100% Pure Java applications will run in Microsoft's Internet Explorer," the document says.

    So far, much of the strategy in this whitepaper (which is from July '98) has been blown away by market movements - Antitrust trial, breakup of Netscape, Java squabbles, etc. - but it does indicate that IBM is committed to not allowing MS to rule the world.

    That's gotta be a good thing.

    share and enjoy
  • Outside of certain shops, IBM does not have alot of credibilty in the desktop space. Just look around your office. The only place that IBM has significant desktop market share is Lotus Notes and ccMail, the latter being a dead product.

    I work for a certain Gov't Department, and we currently have orders in with IBM for computers. I don't know which is worse: IBMs shoddy software and hardware that we get shipped, or the fact that due to the government's wise bargaining, we get machines that would be above-average quality last year, and we still have to pay last year's prices for them. So in our institution, our database software is Lotus Approach, our presentation software is Freelance, our word processing software ... etc.

    While I loathe to say it, I would almost rather use PowerPoint or some such, if only because all the other government folks we work with use them.

    Sam Jooky

  • That's a shame because they are a very different company than they used to be. They have a very different attitude now that they have been humbled by the clone makers and Microsoft on the PC front. They are one of the biggest supporters of open standards and they are even willing to promote competitors technology if it (I'm thinking specifically of Java which was created by one of their biggest competitors in the Unix market). No, they are not perfect, but no company is. I would much rather buy a PC from them than from Dell, which is a Wintel patsy in my mind.

  • Don't try that one on all the thousands of people who bought clones in the 80's and early 90's. They bought PCs because it didn't say IBM on the box.

    He's not talking about the late 80's/early 90's. Nobody would have bought those clones if IBM hadn't created the PC platform and Microsoft wouldn't be the most influential software maker in the world if IBM hadn't chosen their OS. The PC platform became popular because of IBM, regardless of how many people came to loathe them later on.
  • That's it. I think it's time to toss Bill, Steve and Linus into a ring...(I realize there are others we could throw in as well, but we'll keep things simple here for the sake of argument.) Whoever comes out standing takes control of the x86 OS industry for 5 years...

    If I had to, I could put up with 5 years of MacOS if it meant I never had to beat my head against WinNT!

    And 5 years of Linux would simply be bliss. ;)

    Not to mention how much fun it would be to see Mr. Jobs and Mr. Torvalds double-team Mr.Gates. I'd pay good money to see that!

    Now, this solution may seem a touch barbaric, but I can't see how it's any worse than the infighting/back-stabbing that's been going on in the industry since the whole IBM/M$ OS/2 fiasco.

  • I know that I will be flamed for this statement, but Linux in its current form doesn't have what it takes to beat windows at its own game, the home market and especially among newbies. Linux is great for hackers, sysadmins and the like but it is too hard for the average family to use. The linux community will have to sell its soul to get the support it needs for this market. BeOS is much better for the home market because it is fast, stable, easy to use and takes no time to get used to. Be is very linux friendly and will not position BeOS to compete against linux unless Linux tries to move into the home and workstation markets, especially the multimedia market. I have used both Linux and BeOS and BeOS is far better for newbies than any OS on the market. Lack of hardware support for BeOS is largely a misnomer now as it supports tnt, 99% of all ati, neomagic and a few other graphic cards, pretty much all sound blaster cards, all new ensoniq cards, aureal cards, basically all non-usb/non-winmodems and a huge chunk of the scsi card market. It usually lacks support for very specialized stuff like wacom pads. Personally my only personal bone of contention with Linux is that it is so slow compared to BeOS. BeOS boots in about 6-8 seconds and when I had linux installed it took about 20 seconds to start the cli and about 10 seconds to start X/Enlightenment/GNOME. It took that long on a PII 450 with 128mb of ram.
  • Took the words right out of my mouth.
  • In terms of IBM helping out in the ABMA (Anything But Microsoft Alliance)...
    Yes, IBM are a corporation who ultimately probably are only looking out for themselves. IBM as most people here prolly know, are a company who a long time ago were dominant re mainframes and (VERY early on) PCs. The reason why barracking for the company these days gives us such a warm fuzzy feeling is because they're the underdog, and we all like cheering the underdog along. I'm not saying I'm one of the people who says "Yay, go IBM!" or someone who still thinks they're bad. To me personally, IBM don't really mean much. Do I think the people who are encouraging them now would stop if they suddenly became important again? This again is also irrelevant...I think we've pretty much seen that IBM don't have the necessary good sense to know how to regain dominance, as far as PCs are concerned anywayz.
    In his old age, the blue elephant has degenerated into a kindly, tuskless old beast...Simply because he doesn't have the dexterity or common sense these days to really become anything more.
  • Darth Vader is the coolest character in the Star Wars Mythos (he's got a cooler voice than Darth Maul) Luke Skywalker is a cry-baby farmer. Your comparison leaves alot to be desired.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein