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May 18, 2009


Chris Ward

There are maybe more cross-overs than you describe.

Once upon a time, IBM owned and operated a Global Network business; then IBM sold it to ATT, and nowadays you can walk around a number of IBM 'campus' sites and see the network wiring closet rooms bearing an ATT label, and indicating that you need permission from ATT management to open the door.

I know of a number of 'technology outsourcing' contracts, where businesses which sell cell-phone service buy in items from IBM; development of billing solutions, and general 'advanced business technology consultancy', are two specific items.

I think the issue is that it costs IBM $100 to send a bill out. That creates opportunity for any business which can make a profit by billing its customers less than $100 a time; it isn't going to face competition from IBM.

What does it cost Microsoft to send a bill out ? Do they face the same 'problem' as IBM ?

Paul Richard

I had many of the same thoughts after watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tahTKdEUAPk&feature=player_embedded

While the video deals with the future of education, it also raises a number of questions about how is this future smartphone enabled business environment supported? How do you update a support model based on the traditional desktop and laptop environment to support a generation of employees that seek instant answers via twitter and will do the majority of their work via the smartphone and the cloud?

Chris Ward

Well, the internal 'support model' at IBM is fairly clear. You pick two of the myriad options and offer central support for them; and you tell the users they may use those, or may use anything else that their manager approves of, but they are self-supporting when not using the centrally-supported options.

For example, "Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer are supported, but you may use any web browser that meets security standards."

Locking support down to a single option would be cheaper, but would lead to frustration, stagnation, and inability to do the 'best thing' for the variety of customers that a business might hope to have.

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