For quite a few years, my friends in the computer industry and I have been confused by IBM's failure to highlight its single best product, the AS/400. I can remember saying to members of this group of AS/400 aficionados that only IBM could create the AS/400 and only IBM could destroy the AS/400. No company besides IBM could have invested as much capital on the technology that was necessary to create the AS/400, and no other company could intentionally destroy the product of its efforts, as the finest computer system ever built.
After many years spent telling customers that it was planning to promote the AS/400, the plan never came. IBM's AS/400 customers are now in revolt against the company. IBM has not done a good job in its vital roles as caretaker and life-sustainer of this system, upon which many customers run their businesses. If IBM were doing a good job, one of the most asked questions in the industry would not be the following:
"Is the AS/400 Dead?"
Most people see IBM as a very successful company that is really great at making big computers. That is IBM's legacy for those who drink from the fountain of public knowledge. Unless you work in the computer industry, you would naturally be unaware of all the ventures over the years in which IBM was less than successful. For the record, today's IBM is the same IBM that lost the PC business, the relational database business, the telecommunications business, the application software business, the satellite communications business, the Unix business, the word processing business, the video disk business, the computerized branch exchange business, the disk drive business, as well a number of other businesses in which you and I would have made millions. Yet, without learning a lesson, the new IBM is behaving as arrogantly with its AS/400 customers as it did during these other great losses. So what are we to expect?
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About the Author
Kelly is a former IBM Senior Systems Engineer and he has been a candidate for US Congress and the US Senate from Pennsylvania. He has an active information technology consultancy. He is the author of 70 books and numerous articles. Kelly is a frequent speaker at National Conferences, and other technical conferences. When Brian wrote Can the AS/400 Survive IBM in 2004, it was his 21st book.
Over the past twenty years, Brian Kelly has become one of America's most outspoken and eloquent technical authors. Besides this book, his titles about IBM include Chip Wars; Whatever Happened to the IBM AS/400, Thank You IBM: The story of how IBM helped today's technology billionaires and millionaires gain their vast fortunes, The All-Everything Machine, The All-Everything Operating System. Besides these, many other Kelly books are available at www.bookhawkers.com