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January 21, 2008


Chris Ward

There's a lot in IBM's 'rear view mirror' at the moment;
Personal Computers --- sold to Lenovo.
OS/2 --- sold to Serenity Systems.
Lotus SmartSuite --- still with IBM, but if any reader would like to run the business, I'm reasonably sure IBM would sell.

So I have to remind myself, from time to time, what IBM actually does sell nowadays. It tends to be 'innovative products that businesses use, with warranties'. For example
"System Z" with "z/OS", mostly in USA, Europe, and Japan. Traditional business.
"System Z" with "Linux", mostly in China. Growth.
"Supercomputer chips for games consoles" ... XBox360, Wii, and Playstation 3.

The business is global, and large; something like $200M per day. IBM has to take its own advice ... there isn't anyone external to ask. And if it wants to do some business, because it thinks it's profitable, it can't really afford to be in the position where someone tells it to stop.

So, the Business Conduct Guidelines http://www.ibm.com/investor/corpgovernance/cgbcg.phtml .

And when there's another big corporation around that makes software that runs on Personal Computers, competes with OS/2 and Lotus SmartSuite, and wants to buy IBM's chips so that it can sell XBox360's, we hope we know how to treat them.

Very carefully !

On to the next decade, then. Global, integrated, with partners. And with IBM Service !

William (Bill) Smith

It's refreshing to find such a clear articulation of the information challenge. The only assertion you make that I disagree with is... "For individuals it is typically not very hard to tell the good guys (or gals) from the bad ones". Sorry, but we're not.

Of course, everything rests on how we choose to define, or classify what is 'good' v. 'bad' which is an extremely subjective area. Nevertheless, what you're suggesting is that the gap between our deeply held personal values (the way we feel, not just about the way we are treated as customers, but the practices and behaviours we consider acceptable from social and environmental perspectives) and our commercial loyalties is substantive and quite remarkable. Very often, when we think we're doing the right thing, we are in fact part of a problem.

As you pointed out, everyone is rather busy. Consequently, most of us are quite incapable of dedicating the amount of time required to make suitably aligned decisions.

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