Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely - OS2

This is a discussion on Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely - OS2 ; Big Blues: Why IBM Is in Trouble By Robert X. Cringely ------------------------------------------------------------------- No word this week from Sam Palmisano. The CEO of IBM was strangely silent following my column last week about Google and Microsoft that also touched on the ...

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  1. Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely



    Big Blues:
    Why IBM Is in Trouble
    By Robert X. Cringely
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    No word this week from Sam Palmisano. The CEO of IBM was strangely
    silent following my column last week about Google and Microsoft that
    also touched on the malaise at IBM -- a malaise very much of Mr.
    Palmisano's making. But the troops inside IBM Global Services DID reply,
    and uniformly supported my grim news from last week that their company
    has entered a death spiral of under-bidding and then under-delivering.

    Why would a company DO that? Why would they compromise a reputation
    built over decades? Because decades no longer matter to publicly traded
    American companies. All that really matter are fiscal quarters......

    See Link for the rest of the story...
    -------------------------------------------------------------------



  2. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely

    Mark D. Overholser wrote:

    > Why would a company DO that? Why would they compromise a reputation
    > built over decades?


    That is called "doing it the Commodore way" and making it into the legend.
    To end with a big bang, you know, like some surprise bankrupcy or
    whatever... And, hence, enter in the legend.

    Think about it: if Hendrix were still alive, after all the Van Halen, Steve
    Vai and Joe Satriani, would anybody still talk about him ? :-)

    I think that is the secret plan, behind dumping the PC, PS/2, OS/2, etc. in
    favour of other people's patents and technologies.

    Riccardo



  3. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X.Cringely

    Mark D. Overholser wrote:
    >


    Since this is an OS/2 newsgroup, I'll say that I think the beginning of
    the end for IBM was when Gerstner pulled the plug on new OS/2
    development in 1996. OS/2 was never a really big product at IBM but it
    was a trailblazing product in that it was creating an entire new
    platform and way of doing things that would have led to huge revenue
    streams as it gained market share. Gerstner ended all of that in about
    April, 1996 when he made his infamous decision that no more 'resources'
    would be going into the development of OS/2. Now, 10 years later, OS/2
    is *still* an awesome product, although obviously dated and suffering
    now from a lack of development by its owner.

    Gerstner's decision was basically a 'cut and run'...to run and hide from
    competition with Microsoft and others. To this very day, I think Gates
    and Ballmer *still* worry a tiny bit about someone at IBM resurrecting
    OS/2, modernizing it's networking, file systems, kernel, and API and
    launching it as a competitive platform. I don't think they can believe
    even now that IBM could be dumb as to bury a product like that and they
    are holding their sides laughing about it privately. No matter what
    else IBM does now or in the future, it will always be viewed through the
    OS/2 prism by people who remember OS/2 as in 'look how dumb they were
    with OS/2.'

    Since 1996, IBM has basically been in a retrenchment mode attempting to
    maintain profitability as they whittle back their products and services
    and decrease the size of the company. There are no new products or
    ideas coming out of IBM. Nothing that stirs the imagination. No
    leadership by IBM at a time when the world is experiencing the greatest
    growth in digital information ever imagined. Not on hardware, not on
    software, not on systems, not on standards, nor protocols, nothing. IBM
    seems content to have a very large work force going around maintaining
    and servicing whatever it is that other companies dream up. I don't
    think they'll go bankrupt or anything, though. I expect them to just
    gradually shrink in size until they are nearly invisible and irrelevant
    and then quietly go out of business or merge with someone else.

    >
    > Big Blues:
    > Why IBM Is in Trouble
    > By Robert X. Cringely
    > -------------------------------------------------------------------
    > No word this week from Sam Palmisano. The CEO of IBM was strangely
    > silent following my column last week about Google and Microsoft that
    > also touched on the malaise at IBM -- a malaise very much of Mr.
    > Palmisano's making. But the troops inside IBM Global Services DID reply,
    > and uniformly supported my grim news from last week that their company
    > has entered a death spiral of under-bidding and then under-delivering.
    >
    > Why would a company DO that? Why would they compromise a reputation
    > built over decades? Because decades no longer matter to publicly traded
    > American companies. All that really matter are fiscal quarters......
    >
    > See Link for the rest of the story...
    > -------------------------------------------------------------------
    >
    >



    --
    Posted with OS/2 Warp 4.52
    and Sea Monkey 1.5a

  4. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely

    David T. Johnson wrote:

    > Gerstner's decision was basically a 'cut and run'...to run and hide
    > from competition with Microsoft and others. To this very day, I
    > think Gates and Ballmer *still* worry a tiny bit about someone at IBM
    > resurrecting OS/2, modernizing it's networking, file systems, kernel,
    > and API and launching it as a competitive platform.


    On IBM's behalf, we have to say that Gerstner's decision is in a way
    justified by the threats IBM was exposed to. Up to the release of Warp 4,
    and this is documented in the anti-trust case against Microsoft, market
    threats of all kinds and unfair competition and pressure were put on IBM by
    Bill Gates and his company. I read that IBM had to pay three times what
    Compaq did for an OEM Windows 95 license, I also read that Compaq was
    treathened as well by Microsoft not to embrace the competitor's product (
    OS/2 ), at the cost of "suffering". I found all these weird way of words
    Bill Gates allegedly used and all I could think of was of Mafia's way to
    intimidate.

    So, if really IBM wanted to make OS/2 a success, or try it, was to wipe
    Windows from all its desktop PCs and push OS/2 seriously. But IBM was
    possibly still scared by the PS/2 failure and didn't really want to get
    framed into the same painful scheme once again: pushing a sick product,
    against all odds, and unfortunately, OS/2 was born as a sick animal, because
    of what Microsoft deliberately did or not did.

    > I don't think
    > they can believe even now that IBM could be dumb as to bury a product
    > like that and they are holding their sides laughing about it
    > privately. No matter what else IBM does now or in the future, it
    > will always be viewed through the OS/2 prism by people who remember
    > OS/2 as in 'look how dumb they were with OS/2.'


    Bill Gates and Ballmer have always been concerned about OS/2. Bill Gates was
    still talking about OS/2 in public speechs, up to 1999 I think, mostly
    remarking the fact "you don't hear about OS/2 anymore because Windows NT is
    so good it completely overshadowed IBM's product". At IBM nobody was talking
    about OS/2. Aurora was launched with so little publicity we had to find out
    through dedicated e-Zine and OS/2 channels. In 1999 it looked like nobody at
    IBM even remembered about OS/2.

    In fact I remember some calls I did in 2000 or thereafter at IBM Italia and,
    when asked about OS/2, nobody there really knew what the hell I was talking
    about. So I think, regardless how bad the management decisions were on
    regards of OS/2, there was also some widespread corporate ineptitude
    rampaging; however, on defense of the drones there, we have a saying here in
    Italy that goes like "the head of the fish is what rots first". There were
    also the good apples, of course: I remember the melancholy of a few IBM
    managers who use to call me back with the OS/2 informations I had requested
    and they were all very sad about OS/2, because they believed in the product
    and it never really had the time of day to compete in a concrete manner.

    > Since 1996, IBM has basically been in a retrenchment mode attempting
    > to maintain profitability as they whittle back their products and
    > services and decrease the size of the company. There are no new
    > products or ideas coming out of IBM. Nothing that stirs the
    > imagination. No leadership by IBM at a time when the world is
    > experiencing the greatest growth in digital information ever
    > imagined. Not on hardware, not on software, not on systems, not on
    > standards, nor protocols, nothing.


    Selling other people's product is not really the way to go, and it is sad
    that the biggest company and innovator in computer history looks like an old
    tired fighter, ready to retire from the scenes. Maybe it was the Watsons'
    love for their own creature what made it so strong in its prime. Hired hands
    at manager can hardly work better than a real owner. It's the secret that
    made Microsoft strong and Jim Sculley infamous!

    > IBM seems content to have a very
    > large work force going around maintaining and servicing whatever it
    > is that other companies dream up. I don't think they'll go bankrupt
    > or anything, though. I expect them to just gradually shrink in size
    > until they are nearly invisible and irrelevant and then quietly go
    > out of business or merge with someone else.


    I think you summed it up excellently. If IBM doesn't come up with something
    worth its blessed brand name, it will keep shrinking and one day,
    ironically, maybe Microsoft will buy it. At that time, I can already figure
    out some Ballmer's speech about the introduction of a brand new invention, a
    revolutionary enhancement in the next version of Windows 2036: the "new"
    Windows desktop called "Workplace Shell".

    Riccardo




  5. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely

    On Tue, 23 May 2006 20:32:29 UTC, "David T. Johnson"
    wrote:

    > Since 1996, IBM has basically been in a retrenchment mode attempting to
    > maintain profitability as they whittle back their products and services
    > and decrease the size of the company. There are no new products or
    > ideas coming out of IBM. Nothing that stirs the imagination. No
    > leadership by IBM at a time when the world is experiencing the greatest
    > growth in digital information ever imagined. Not on hardware, not on
    > software, not on systems, not on standards, nor protocols, nothing.


    For all too long now an influential view has been that if you can lead one kind
    of business, you can be the leader of any business. Gerstner rightly deserves
    his British medal and his coming place in history for having so thoroughly, but
    sadly so unwittingly, debunked that idiotic notion.

    Gerstner was a sell-out at IBM - figuratively, literally and tragically.


    Best regards
    Sten Solberg


  6. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely

    On Tue, 23 May 2006 23:08:36 UTC, "Riccardo Rubini"
    wrote:

    > In fact I remember some calls I did in 2000 or thereafter at IBM Italia and,
    > when asked about OS/2, nobody there really knew what the hell I was talking
    > about.


    Pretence. By order, I am sure. I don't know about Italy, but here in Scandinavia
    everybody with the slightest interest in computers knew _about OS/2, and still
    do, with one notable exception: IBM employees, who were suddenly hit by
    collective amnesia. Pathetic.


    Best regards
    Sten Solberg


  7. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely


    "Sten Solberg" wrote in message
    news:78qdnfwUGZ1oNe7Z4p2dnA@telenor.com...

    > For all too long now an influential view has been that if you can lead one
    > kind
    > of business, you can be the leader of any business. Gerstner rightly
    > deserves
    > his British medal and his coming place in history for having so
    > thoroughly, but
    > sadly so unwittingly, debunked that idiotic notion.
    >
    > Gerstner was a sell-out at IBM - figuratively, literally and tragically.


    Gerstner had written an autobiography, that was out by the fall of 2002. It
    was reviewed on Forbes.com and, less or more, here is an excerpt that
    mentions OS/2:

    --
    "Indeed, every employee would make three "personal business commitments," or
    actions to fulfill broader IBM commitments. Performance against those
    commitments was directly tied to salary. Gerstner says he estimated it would
    take five years to turn around IBM's culture. He underestimated. In some
    ways, it's still a work in progress.

    That Gerstner had no emotional attachment to long-suffering products
    ultimately worked in IBM's favor. Could an insider have made the decision to
    cut OS/2 loose? Gerstner writes that his colleagues were "unwilling or
    unable to accept" that OS/2 was a "resounding defeat" that, despite its
    technical superiority, "was draining tens of millions of dollars, absorbing
    huge chunks of senior management's time, and making a mockery of our image."

    But even worse, focusing on the desktop ran counter to IBM's view of where
    the tech world was headed. By the end of 1994, IBM ceased new development of
    OS/2 software. It was the same story with big corporate software
    applications. IBM spent mightily to develop them, but they were losers in
    the marketplace".
    --

    Then, regarding the focus of the new book: "If Louis V. Gerstner Jr.'s book
    Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? [...] gets one point across, it is that
    nobody but an unaffected outsider like Gerstner could have saved IBM from
    crumbling. From the first page to the last, he never lets us forget that's
    exactly what he was for the nearly ten years he spent at IBM"

    I think any comment about how Gerstner supposedly "saved IBM" is
    unnecessary, really.

    Riccardo



  8. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X. Cringely

    On Tue, 23 May 2006 17:49:56 UTC, "Riccardo Rubini"
    wrote:

    > > Why would a company DO that? Why would they compromise a reputation
    > > built over decades?

    >
    > That is called "doing it the Commodore way" and making it into the legend.
    > To end with a big bang, you know, like some surprise bankrupcy or
    > whatever... And, hence, enter in the legend.
    >
    > Think about it: if Hendrix were still alive, after all the Van Halen, Steve
    > Vai and Joe Satriani, would anybody still talk about him ? :-)


    I think so since Hendrix was not only a good guitar player but also a
    good song writer.
    --
    "I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen." - W.H. Auden

  9. Re: Big Blues:Why IBM Is in Trouble, By "The Original" Robert X.Cringely

    Riccardo Rubini wrote:
    > "Sten Solberg" wrote in message
    > news:78qdnfwUGZ1oNe7Z4p2dnA@telenor.com...
    >
    >>For all too long now an influential view has been that if you can lead one
    >>kind
    >>of business, you can be the leader of any business. Gerstner rightly
    >>deserves
    >>his British medal and his coming place in history for having so
    >>thoroughly, but
    >>sadly so unwittingly, debunked that idiotic notion.
    >>
    >>Gerstner was a sell-out at IBM - figuratively, literally and tragically.

    >
    > Gerstner had written an autobiography, that was out by the fall of 2002. It
    > was reviewed on Forbes.com and, less or more, here is an excerpt that
    > mentions OS/2:
    >
    > --
    > "Indeed, every employee would make three "personal business commitments," or
    > actions to fulfill broader IBM commitments. Performance against those
    > commitments was directly tied to salary. Gerstner says he estimated it would
    > take five years to turn around IBM's culture. He underestimated. In some
    > ways, it's still a work in progress.


    As someone who worked in IBM in this timeframe, I can attest that the
    culture had already changed significantly by 2002. What happened with
    my group, composed primarily of veteran (20+ year) IBM'ers was good
    evidence of that. None of those people thought of IBM as family
    anymore, not even in '99 when I was first hired on. A few rounds of
    seemingly random layoffs took care of any delusions of loyalty from our
    employer.

    > That Gerstner had no emotional attachment to long-suffering products
    > ultimately worked in IBM's favor. Could an insider have made the decision to
    > cut OS/2 loose? Gerstner writes that his colleagues were "unwilling or
    > unable to accept" that OS/2 was a "resounding defeat" that, despite its
    > technical superiority, "was draining tens of millions of dollars, absorbing
    > huge chunks of senior management's time, and making a mockery of our image."
    >
    > But even worse, focusing on the desktop ran counter to IBM's view of where
    > the tech world was headed. By the end of 1994, IBM ceased new development of
    > OS/2 software. It was the same story with big corporate software
    > applications. IBM spent mightily to develop them, but they were losers in
    > the marketplace".
    > --
    >
    > Then, regarding the focus of the new book: "If Louis V. Gerstner Jr.'s book
    > Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? [...] gets one point across, it is that
    > nobody but an unaffected outsider like Gerstner could have saved IBM from
    > crumbling. From the first page to the last, he never lets us forget that's
    > exactly what he was for the nearly ten years he spent at IBM"
    >
    > I think any comment about how Gerstner supposedly "saved IBM" is
    > unnecessary, really.


    Sadly, even if there is any truth to him fiscally keeping the company
    afloat on paper, there is no value to the IBM brand anymore. The sale
    to Lenovo sold the last vestages of the IBM brand. Whether or not it
    fiscally made sense, they lost all differentiation after this point.
    The elephant got an early onset of arthiritis and barely saunters
    around, let alone dances.

    --
    [Reverse the parts of the e-mail address to reply.]

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