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March 03, 2008


Chris Ward

So what to do ?

As an IBM employee, I'm fairly tightly reined to what my manager would like. Many years ago, one senior manager said "If you do what I ask and we fail, I carry the can. If you do what you want and we fail, you carry the can".

Out of hours, there are various regulations which seem best expressed as "You may not compete with your employer" ... and since IBM is in hardware, software, and services businesses, that can be quite restrictive. If anyone wants anything that IBM sells, they need to see their salesman and ask about prices, terms, and conditions. I cannot provide services at lower prices or different the terms and conditions; flexibility on that is the prerogative of the salesman and his line of management, if they judge it in the best interests of the business.

It also seems wise not to take any actions which might land me, or my employer, in commercial trouble with anyone.

And with the amounts of money flying about in this industry ... at a guess, IBM's daily revenue must be hundreds of millions of dollars, as must Microsoft's ... anything that causes any turbulence in the revenue stream is likely to cause someone to object.

IBM management has in its infinite wisdom decided that http://symphony.lotus.com/ shall be available as a kind of 'public service broadcast'. And as that brings the market for document, spreadsheet, and word-processing software to saturation, it will cause turbulence. Hopefully growing the Lotus Notes business, but definitely turbulence along the way.

So we can engineer things. We just need pointing in the right direction. If you want them delivered, well, just point the 'development engines' in the right direction.

We thought the days of 'missions' were over; disk files, displays, personal computers, OS/2, and so on. All commoditised and sold off.

Is there another one to mobilise for ?

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