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.”
Partners feel jilted
Partners Left Jilted and Confused
Williams said that since Genuitec attended RSDC last year, “being banned from participation this year was a bit of a surprise. We had a great time at RSDC 2007 talking to WebSphere developers about the type of tools they really wanted to use.”
Williams said the experience at RSDC last year inspired Genuitec “to work very hard in the intervening months to deliver MyEclipse Blue Edition to the WebSphere community to satisfy those needs. We’ve always looked at MyEclipse Blue as a better way to support the WebSphere customers we share with IBM.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Rational division is more concerned with how their tools look in comparison, rather than ensuring WebSphere users have a choice of tool sets, so I understand why they are preventing us from exhibiting this year,” Williams continued. “From their perspective, if Rational’s users knew that they had a choice for $149 per seat for MyEclipse Blue Edition versus several thousand dollars per seat for any flavor of RAD, Rational just might have a mutiny on their hands.”
Williams said Genuitec’s MyEclipse 6.1 Blue Edition provides users with all the features of MyEclipse Workbench Professional Edition, but also includes customized tooling and capabilities for the IBM WebSphere application server.
“It appears that Rational is being aggressive this year and banning anyone that is remotely competitive with their offerings, even when it goes against the ‘greater good’ of serving other IBM customers,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, Lorne Cooper, president and CEO of AccuRev, said: “”We integrate with much, and support most, of the IBM Rational product line, but we do overlap with ClearCase. As IBM’s product line gets increasingly broad, it’s hard to have zero overlap, and hopefully they won’t make that a test for future inclusion at RSDC. Today, many of our customers utilize ClearQuest, Rose, and other Rational tools. We understand there might be some sensitivity on the part of some of their sales people, but we hope that for the benefit of their customers, IBM will allow partners like AccuRev to participate.”