Sun's Jonathan Schwartz says that IBM is in a Pickle

by Volker Weber

Jonathan Schwartz writes:

IBM has a problem. The problem is called history, and in its current incarnation it's called Red Hat.

The 'history' to which I refer is the experience of a former IBM CEO, John Akers. Akers and his staff had the wisdom to enter the PC market in its early days, but the short sightedness to suggest customers source their PC operating system from a little company in the Pacific northwest. The company turned into Microsoft, and they continue to generously return the fruits of their coup to their stockholders.

A few years back, IBM and HP both hopped onto the social movement called linux. It's a wonderful movement. But the bad news for IBM is that the vast majority of enterprise datacenter deployments are now occurring on Red Hat's linux. 100 to 1, depending up on where you look.

Let me jump in here. Does this possibly reflect just the US perspective? I would argue, that at least in this country it is the other way around.

I am having this nagging feeling that Sun has more problems than IBM.


Red Hat is definitely the corporate standard in North America. (I've seen at least one market research survey in depth.) I think it's very different in smaller companies, but that's not whom IBM targets.

Esther Schindler, 2004-08-02

That's what I read some places as well. In Germany (or maybe in Central Europe, meaning the German speaking area of Switzerland, Germany itself and Austria) SuSE was mentioned as the dominant distribution. Again in Asia it was some other distribution to dominate the market (but I forgot which one)...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2004-08-02

Red Hat WAS the corporate standard. Due to Novell's purchase of Suse, Suse is becoming a much stronger force regarding linux in the US.

Given we're a Suse reseller - maybe I'm partial, but Redhat's unclear message about support really aggravated a lot of people.

You're right about Sun being in a much bigger pickle than IBM. Sun has real issues - as in, who cares about their hardware when Lintel will do the same thing for much less in cost.

Jon Johnston, 2004-08-02

My thoughts here.


Richard Schwartz, 2004-08-02

You just have to love The Register:

No, friends, this is Schwartz working the Sun tradition of tossing out a "controversial" non-quotation, knowing the press will jump on it. Schwartz must have looked into the WSJ reporters' eyes and known it was a slow news day. Good on him for that.If you're looking for real news, we remind you that drug dogs are dying from meth overdoses, the White House is chiding puppets and eco-tourists are dumping diesel off the coast of Alaska.

Volker Weber, 2004-08-02

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