In fact, I recall many years ago reading a Reuters article that described IBM as "the company which invented e-business". Yes, wasn't that the day elephants started flying?
Now, to the marketing folks at Big Blue, creating the perception of ownership for a generic term like electronic business was a major coup.
The campaign began in 1997 with the help of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Armed with a budget the size of Queensland, IBM went on a major marketing blitz, promoting e-business as the next best thing to sliced bread.
The resulting brand recall from the "e-business" campaign is without a doubt any marketers dream. One would think that this case study is worthy of emulation.
Let's fast forward to the present. For some time now, the acronym ILM, short for information lifecyle management, has been bandied around by storage vendors, all seeking to achieve the fame and success associated with the e-business marketing hyperbole.
Several companies have been aggressively pushing their respective information lifecyle management agendas. EMC, for instance, has invested a substantial amount of money and resources in selling the tenets of ILM, which it describes as "a strategy that uses people, processes and technology to store and tap critical business data throughout its lifespan of value."
Others, such as Hitachi Data Systems, have also voiced their ILM plans, albeit under a different moniker. But from a branding perspective, it seems that EMC's investment is slowly paying off.
On the surface, ILM and e-business share many things in common -- nothing new was invented and there's no technological breakthough to report. But in business, creating and capitalising on perceived value is key.
So it was interesting to hear what a senior StorageTek executive had to say about ILM.
"The trademark for information lifecycle management is actually owned by StorageTek," Randy Chalfant, StorageTek's chief technologist told a gathering of IT managers and CIOs in Sydney last week.
Chalfant graciously proclaimed: "But we won't take EMC to court although they keep using it."
The crowd certainly did take notice of his comments but was it just a case of sour grapes? ILM could have been the cash cow e-business was to IBM but StorageTek simply missed the boat.