Tuesday, 21 January 2014

IBM Profits slump

Is anyone actually surprised that IBM's earnings are down? The senior management can blame the global ressesion as much as they like, and make so called "big", but "empty" gestures like forgoing the odd million $ bonus here and there, but I believe the reasons for their problems are entirely self inflicted.

In the past few years Linux and all-things cloud have become the must-have solutions for most businesses as they look to reduce costs and rid themselves of costly and inflexible IT outsourcing deals.

Linux is NOT free!

I have lost count of the times that people have told me that AIX is expensive and Linux is free whilst nothing could actually be further from the truth. The reality is that the IBM model is like owning a car, whilst the Linux/Redhat and cloud-types model are more akin to leasing it. This may seem a strange comparission but the point is that if you have a support-contract/lease model, once you stop paying paying you have nothing, coupled with the problem of how you retreive and retain your data, and what you do with it next?
I have always been a huge Linux fan and can readily see that it has some great features and clear advantages over AIX, but it also has some issues. I find the easiest comparison is Apple/IOS and Android. Apple (like IBM) controls both the hardware and software, and to a great extent what can run on it, whereas with Android, anything is possible, but when you have a problem, you are on your own.

The solution?

I believe that IBM is certainly not helping itself and the way to claw-back market share and to re-invigorate AIX is:

  1. Create a developer licence which enables individual users, and SMEs to buy budget, and even second-hand hardware, and use it to test, develop, and port solutions to AIX.
  2. Create a Freshmeat/Sourceforge type hub where developers are encouraged and helped to exchange code and ideas, and market new ideas.
  3. Add support for YUM (YellowDog Update Manager) to AIX in order to make installing and managing RPMs easier on AIX.
  4. Create an open-source version of Fix-Central where developers and prospective customers can download AIX, patches, trial products, etc. This would closely follow the way in which companies such as Redhat operate.

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