• Subject: Re: IBM Spin Doctors on AS/400 Marketing
  • From: "Chris Rehm" <Mr.AS400@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 22:33:12 -0700


>It happens every day.  It is the ignorant user syndrome.  If you work in a
>software development shop, you work with and for people who understand
>technology issues.  I work with end users.  People who say 'Just put
>Windows95 on my machine and I won't have all these problems' but who don't
>realize that:
>
>1)Their machine is an 8MB 25MZ 486 with a 200 MB drive and won't run
>Windows95. 
>2)The problem they keep having is shutting the power off with all their
files
>open.
>3)The AS/400 has nothing to do with their problem, they are not even
>connected to it.

I am sure you mean well, but:
1) Software Development Houses (surprise!) DO deal with end users.
2) Four weeks of working in a software development house isn't likely to
erase my memory of the prior twenty years experience in end user shops.

I am familiar with exactly the type of user you describe. I listened to
months of complaints from a sales manager who wanted to have OS/2 removed
from his machine and Windows installed so that he could get rid of the
many problems he was having. His machine _was_ running Windows. He seemed
to feel I was lying to him about that. 

>But they go into the DP steering committee meetings with with their
thinking
>controlled by the following syllogism:
>
>It says in Family Computing magazine that the AS/400 is proprietary.
>Proprietary is bad.
>It says in TWA Advantage that NT is open.
>Open is good.
>Our back office runs on an AS/400, not on an NT server.
>I sometimes have to reboot my PC.
>Therefore, the AS/400 causes all out problems.  QED.
>
>This is REAL.  We really have to deal with this kind of 'thinking'.  Read
>Dilbert.  This stuff happens.  The solution to THIS kind of problem is
>convince IBM marketing to present the AS/400 so that Family Computing
>magazine will run articles that say 'The AS/400 is the server of choice'.
>Then the syllogism falls apart.  As it is now, we fly in the face of
>everything the average power user thinks he 'knows' when we tell him the
>truth about the AS/400.  That power use has article after article
bolstering
>his point of view and we get accused of being stick-in-the-mud big iron
>bigots when we refute with facts.  I know it is all perception, but
>perceptions are real too and IBM has to deal with them.

If what you say is true, then Unix must be taking over the world! After
all, Unix has been "the server of choice", it is touted as the most open
platform, and is present in every institution of higher learning in the
world. 

Aren't you sort of playing the part of one the guys you are talking about?
You want the AS/400 to flourish so IBM has to come up with ads to make
others want it too. 

I want the AS/400 to flourish too. But I don't think ads will sell it.
Sure, I want Rochester to do what they can to give the AS/400 some brand
recognition. If they can spend a billion on it, I'll be pleased! But IBM
has a lot to consider here. Why should they tout the AS/400 as the server
of choice when they also sell mainframes and PC servers? Why treat the
AS/400 as a senior brand if the RS/6000 is as profitable and more
accepted? 

The only thing that will get the AS/400 to stand out is if it can become
the premier Java server and Java takes hold. Otherwise, it is just another
server and in a few years when NT is finally ready for the enterprise the
AS/400 will exit stage left (slowly over many years). 

Companies ARE developing applications for NT. Many of the articles you
read in trades are about new releases of features of products intended to
take advantage of 32bit windows. That is why NT has the perception
advantage. IBM can't change that with some glossy ads. What they need is
new, flashy, feature rich applications. The kind of things that will grab
the attention of trade writers and get some article space. 

Shoot, I am pretty tired. I hope I didn't ramble or stray, but I have been
trying to get three teenagers situated here in CA and ready for Halloween
and I am exhausted.

Happy Halloween!

Chris Rehm
Mr.AS400@ibm.net
You have to ask yourself, "How often can I afford to be unexpectedly out of 
business?" 
Get an AS/400.
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