Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Less IBM Moments?!

There was a posting that came out titled We need more Apple/Google/Amazon moments, less IBM moments from Vinnie Mirchandani.

The post is interesting in his view of HP and IBM among others. He starts well:
HP’s many announcements in the past weeks led observers to say this was its “IBM” inflexion point – deemphasize consumer tech, get more into enterprise tech.
And you think it will be a nice post for IBM. But it soon turns into "The funny thing is I see in different ways IBM longing for some of its consumer roots."
Consumer roots? IBM? They have never really been about consumers, aside from the Lotus division, now referred to as ICS or IBM Collaboration Solutions. Thinkpads and PCs aside which were really aimed at corporates and some consumer side people.

Then he says:
The argument is IBM has shown enterprise revenue to be higher margin, more predictable etc. I would argue the better metric to use if what percentage of revenues comes from products introduced in the last 5 years and Apple, Amazon, Google blow IBM away by the wide margin on that metric.
Here is where it gets interesting, he doesn't care that IBM stock is at a high not seen for almost a decade, instead he looks at the short term benefits. IBM Connections does meet the 5 year guide and IBM says it is the fastest selling solution ever. Is it an iPod, iPad or iPhone revenue stream? Not likely, but then IBM looks at the long road picture, not the short term what's shiny today view which the author shared.

But the crux of the matter is the author really wants to sell his new book and so in typical fashion, instead of being professional and discussing his book, he takes shots at IBM.

And my next book profiles enterprises in at least 50 industries that are developing “smart” products and services – smart pens, shirts, medical devices, digital citizen services.
So naturally IBM would not be included because it's not about the consumer? Strange perspective. Amazon is not using EC2 aimed at consumers. Google charges for their corporate apps, but the rest are generally FREE. Only Apple charges for everything and they deserve it too given their generally high quality efforts. Since he says industries, hard to think of ANY industry that is not getting some benefit out of software or devices in one way or another.

And finally the one which drove me to a prolonged comment on his post:
IBM launched its Social Business initiative at Lotusphere – Lotus is two decades old technology! IBM first talked about On-Demand computing in 2001 – a decade later we are still waiting for its version of Azure.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he is impressed Lotus Notes is at the forefront of this initiative. Damn straight it's 20 years old, because it's that good!

Taking the opposite view he is not interested in "older technology" just new and shiny.  As I pointed out in the comments, it's not like the software has sat for 20 years with no changes. If it was truly a bad product it would have been pulled long ago. No, the reality is tech writers hate Lotus Notes because they need something new to write about, not something that gets updates. Although they seem happy to post about any thing Microsoft does to update their DOS based Windows options. Is it readership? A numbers game? If so, why does so much press go to Apple? A niche, still, within the market but growing. Celebrity status will always trump reality unfortunately. I don't blame them they have a job to do and when I can I help them see the other side of their "conclusions".

I challenge the author or any other tech writer to do some investigative work on how many of the Fortune 100 companies uses Domino for some applications and messaging that is critical to their business. The results may surprise them.  You can argue whatever you want, but if companies really did not get a benefit out of using Domino I am quite sure IBM would drop it permanently and so would they.

We need more IBM moments like Watson, like Jams, like LUGs, like Smarter Planet and maybe some will be coming out at that Lotusphere thing in January 2012 that will play to the consumer side more. Stay tuned.

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