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Has Ibm Become Irrelevant


Tim Bryce

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Years ago the technology industry was defined by IBM and the "BUNCH" (Burroughs, Univac, NCR, CDC, and Honeywell). One by one, the BUNCH slowly evaporated and have either been merged into other entities or taken a back seat to others, such as Digital, Wang, Data General, and others, all of which have also ridden off into the sunset. In the software industry, the big guns used to be Cincom, Cullinane, MSA, and Computer Associates, but it is now hard to find anyone in the business who even remembers their names.

Today, Wall Street defines the technology industry by such names as Google, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Priceline, Facebook, Intuit, Yahoo!, and others. Remarkably, IBM's name rarely appears in this regards which leads me to believe they are starting to fade from view as the BUNCH did years earlier.

There was a time when you mentioned the name "IBM" it conjured up images of mainframes, midrange computers, PC's, networks, operating systems, DBMS' and office equipment. Today, I'm not too sure exactly what it represents. I think they still sell "big iron" but they have abdicated just about everything else to others. They talk about such things as middleware, storage devices, and file servers, which is a far cry from the comprehensive product line that once dominated the industry.

For years it was well understood in the corporate world that you could never get fired for recommending the purchase of IBM products. It was the safe bet. Now they are lucky to be even considered in the running. >From a hardware point of view, I still believe they know how to engineer products. I still have some of their PC's which, when you look under the cover, are solidly built and much better than just about anyone else's. But IBM now finds itself in the awkward position of having to prove itself as a viable solution provider.

IBM used to be well known for strong marketing tactics, some say heavy handed, but this started to change in the 1990's as IBM acquiesced the desktop to Microsoft. Instead of dominating the industry, they now appear to be content to lay back on the ropes absorbing one punch after another. What bothers me is that they give the appearance of a company who is no longer in charge of their own destiny and rely on others for direction. To me, this is the sign of a company on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

About the Author

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor, Florida.

He can be contacted at:

Copyright 2008 Tim Bryce.  All rights reserved.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-02-09 17:56:16 in Business Articles

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