Dave: You make some excellent points in your post. I have purchased a few AS400s from IBM over the years, as part of the partners in development program. It is a very tedious and frustrating process. Even ordering additional LICPGM for our box is a huge pain in butt. The bottom line is, I'd rather deal with the IRS than IBM. I think the IRS has less bureaucracy. cjg Carl J. Galgano EDI Consulting Services, Inc. 550 Kennesaw Avenue, Suite 800 Marietta, GA 30060 (770) 422-2995 - voice (419) 730-8212 - fax mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ediconsulting.com AS400 EDI, Networking, E-Commerce and Communications Consulting and Implementation http://www.icecreamovernight.com Premium Ice Cream Brands shipped Overnight FREE AS/400 Timesharing Service - http://www.ediconsulting.com/timeshare.html "You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know" - rw Dave's self proclaimed "long post": No only is nobody "cold calling" it's almost impossible to buy an Iseries unless you know who or what to look for. While IBM has a listing in the Yellow Pages, a call to IBM will not turn up a solution or referral in most cases. I few years ago, we thought the county would take on a new business function (Mental Health) that would require new software. Just to see how hard it would be for a new customer (without any iseries info) to end up with a as/400 (or anything from IBM), I called the Yellow Pages listed number for IBM. Their reply was to call IBM Direct. IBM Direct told me they only sold hardware and sent me back to the IBM regional office. Then they sent me back to IBM Direct (this was starting to be a quest by now). IBM Direct told me they didn't sell software and couldn't help me, at which time I told them "NO YOU ARE GOING TO HELP ME!" They then asked (called) somewhere and got me a few BP or ISV's names (not contact info, but names). They didn't know if these business were good, crooks, still in business, even if they worked with as/400, mainframes, pc's, etc. The question then is, if a new customer has to go through that many steps, dead ends and finally, force someone to help them get a solution, how can you possibly get new customers? The whole government market in NC (which is quite large) doesn't have an IBM marketing rep in the State. OTOH, I can have anybody I want from M$ (and I'm not their biggest fan, either) in my office at anytime (ditto, with many PC and Unix vendors, as well). When we, as a group, got real loud about some Microsoft problems, the top "Government Manager" in Redmond came and visited several of us. I always hear BP's cry about IBM iseries advertisements (or the lack thereof), but business owners, CEO's, etc will never ask for an iseries because they saw an ad. They will call IBM because they expect a solution and they expect IBM to be able to help (or they saw a solution listed in a trade ad). Usually they're not even thinking platform. That means IBM has to knock on doors, field calls intelligently, have Marketing Rep's and SE's that can explain the various products and product lines, to customers. IBM has to understand, that good, quality vendors selling solutions, sell the iseries platform. IBM then needs know about them, know how good they are and refer the best ones. Sorry about the long reply, but I think it's as least as important and Enron, and Lou G. selling stock. David Boling
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