• Subject: Re: IBM Spin Doctors on AS/400 Marketing
  • From: mcrump@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 11:34:01 -0500

>>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
>>big iron bigots when we refute with facts.  I know it is all perception,
>>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

>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.

This may not be all that bad.  You may have to fight fire with fire.
You can take the approach that you will battle  this 'perception' from a
higher ground (depending on your viewpoint).  Or you can play the same
game.  I assume a few things:

1.) A lot of computer decisions have the look of a logical analytical
when in reality it is an emotional biased decision.
2.) A lot of us are tired of battling these perceptions on an ongoing
3.) Our perception on the AS/400 is not 100% unemotional - we are
humans after all.
4.) Ads are not the sole answer and not even the most important - we are
talking about marketing not just advertising.

>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!

Agreed :-)

>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?

Depends on your viewpoint.  As an AS/400 customer I can say I could
care less about the  selling of mainframes and PC servers.  That's not my
problem.  As a customer I may have very different concerns than a
To bundle those viewpoints together is confusing the issue.

?Why treat the AS/400 as a senior brand if the RS/6000 is as profitable and

1.) IBM has tauted the AS/400 as 'the server of choice' but done it
2.) I'm sure it's just an example but the AS/400 has blown away the RS/6000
in profitability for years.  The PC people have also been on questionable
for years.
3.) There are a number of Industry reports that tend to indicate that the
is a superior machine compared to any other platform - why not treat it as

>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.

Advertising alone will not sway the market.  Applications are not the sole
either - however, that is one way to approach this in a purer sense.
got this system to where it is to a degree.  Funny thing is that there are
a lot
of C/S applications available for the AS/400.  Not enough and unfortunately
historically succesful AS/400 companies are not transitioning well but they
moving.  That is one problem with supporting an installed base - how do you
transition them to the future.  It's not easy.  There are vendors that are
their applications over to the AS/400.  Example:  AccountMate has been a MS
vendor for years and they ported their app to the AS/400 and were proud of
it - unfortunately they may be the exception.

I think one of the things that most of us desire is for IBM to not take
this thing lying
down which is the impression most of us get.  I truly feel that a lot of
long time
AS/400 advocates are tired of fighting a battle that should be IBM's to
some degree.

The only time IBM really was aggressive was the HP Assault campaign.  It
was great.
I believe the end result is more HP's replaced by AS/400's than vice-versa.
the HP assault is somewhat different so it is a little dangerous to use it
as an example

Sounds like you have a lot of Halloween work....hope it goes well.  This
dad will be
on taking the 3 and 4 year old out on their first Halloween all by his
lonesome.  I
don't know how my wife arranged it?

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