IBM's Rational Show: It's the Way They Did It

It's not as much a question of why IBM banned some vendors from the Rational development event as of how it all unfolded.

Last week I wrote a story about IBM Rational blocking third-party vendors from coming to its Rational Software Development Conference in June.

Well, the story generated a bit of a controversy. IBM claims the event is a private event and it has the right to choose who should and should not come. That's totally true.

And some folks weighed in, asking why should IBM allow vendors in who compete with them. That's true, too.

But the issue here is that IBM banned companies that had already signed up for the event. They'd basically been invited and paid for space and then were later called and told not to come.

That's a whole different issue. Me? If I knew you were going to have a negative impact on my party I'd just not invite you. I'd make the call right off. "Nope, I don't want you there, don't bother to ask. You're not invited."

But IBM allowed its show management company to accept payment from these guys and the groups fully expected to attend. Then they get a last-minute call to hold off. That's the story. The guys had been at the event the year before. If they'd behaved badly then, IBM should have said right then: "You know what? You guys are not welcome next year." But IBM didn't.

It wasn't all about whether the companies competed with IBM. IBM indicates there is possibly more involved. For instance, OpenMake is participating and exhibiting at RSDC. And OpenMake competes directly with IBM's Buildforge.

Of course, the companies that were banned played it up. Who wouldn't? You can't get into a party you make a stink at the door.

Anyway, I make it a rule not to spend time with folks I believe are going to detract from my experience. I'm just not going to do it. The only exception I make is fishing. I love to fish so much that I've told friends that I'd go out on a boat with the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan - as long as he put us on the fish and we caught some nice ones to bring home, we'd be fine.

Once we'd hit land I'd go my way and he'd go his.