IBM Takes Off the Gloves for .Net Card

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2002-03-04

Lets get ready to rumbllllllle," shouted the Pugilistic Puss as he pondered recent indications that the gentlemens agreement between IBM and Microsoft to not publicly criticize or attack each other may not be quite so gentlemanly in the future. Recent rumblings indicate that Armonk may be putting on the boxing gloves to fight Redmond for the championship of the fledgling Web services field.

El Gato has gotten wind of an in-house IBM marketing campaign titled "Take Out Microsoft." The campaign includes plans to equip staffers with the "tools to deliver an end-to-end IBM proposal to take out Microsoft and its .Net strategy." It also encourages IBMers to "use the Take Out Microsoft campaign to build your pipeline and close sales for 2002."

IBM spokesmen, while declining to confirm this campaign, told the Furball that in-house campaigns to promote the companys products and gain market share are not new. However, one spokesman confirmed for the Kitty that company execs were becoming more outspoken in criticizing Microsoft and its adherence to a Windows-only environment.

"We are only expressing the sentiments of our customers who increasingly use different platforms and environments and want complete interoperation between them through open standards," the spokesman said. "There are two strategies here: IBMs, which is based on open standards, and Microsofts, which is closed and restricted to the Windows platform."

In the Redmond corner, a group manager for enterprise strategy told the Tabby that Microsoft was surprised by the aggressive nature of IBMs in-house stance. This seemed "more a sign of IBMs desperation than of playing to their strengths. Ultimately, customers get turned off by negative rhetoric like this, which has worked to the detriment of Oracle and Sun and will do so with IBM," he said.

The Redmond ringside strategist assumed that IBM was probably threatened by Microsofts .Net strategy and that the recent release of Visual Studio .Net and .Net Framework may be putting IBM under pressure to compete. IBMs WebSphere offering was "the poster child of needless complexity and was designed this way so as to drive customers to buy additional services," said the Microsoft manager.

"Nobody in the Armonk camp would confirm if Sam "Rocky" Palmisano was starting to toss back a few raw eggs as part of his morning regimen, though," laughed the Lynx.

Spencer F. Katt can be reached at

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