IBM Partners Blocked from Rational Conference

A Big Blue bully slams the door to its Rational conference for partners it considers competition.

When it comes to protecting its base of coveted developer customers, IBM Rational is acting like an insecure suitor by suddenly disinviting potential rivals to its big party, according to a vendor that was asked not to attend.

At least one vendor, Genuitec, maker of the MyEclipse IDE (integrated development environment) has said an IBM official called its representative and told them Genuitec was not welcome at the Rational Software Development Conference this year. Another company, AccuRev, which markets software configuration management and other solutions that compete with Rational's products, received a similar call. Both companies attended RSDC last year and exhibited in the event's exhibit area.

Indeed, Genuitec had every intention of returning to RSDC, even having picked out and paid for booth space at the event, when they received the call from IBM advising the company to "stay home," said Todd Williams, vice president of technology and co-founder of Genuitec. RSDC is scheduled for June 1-5 in Orlando, Fla.

"Steve Lauzon from IBM was very kind to give us a call, thank us for our commitment and contribution to promoting the Eclipse ecosystem, and then remind us that the RSDC is a private conference," Williams said. "He then asked us to cancel our plans to attend the RSDC conference this year on the basis that we offer highly competitive products to the Rational Application Developer suite."

IBM did not mention competition in its response about the criteria for third-party vendors attending RSDC, but said it evaluated attendees based on their ability to support Rational.

"The mission of the IBM Rational Software Development Conference is to educate and inform IBM customers and partners on IBM's leading software delivery portfolio and provide thought leadership and best practices in how to effectively deliver software," said IBM's Manager of Rational Business Partner Marketing Brett Hansen. "The IBM Rational Software Development Conference is not an industry event- it's a private conference sponsored and underwritten by IBM for the benefit of our customers and business partners. In the process of evaluating which organizations can exhibit or sponsor our events, IBM carefully evaluates which companies provide complementary offerings that provide value to our customers."