X
Business

HP's blade strategist: IBM's a tantrum child that's about to get egg on its face?

You gotta love the blogosphere for how it plays host to product folks that are several clicks down the org chart from the top, and who sometimes mince no words in trashing the competition. Case in point?
Written by David Berlind, Inactive

You gotta love the blogosphere for how it plays host to product folks that are several clicks down the org chart from the top, and who sometimes mince no words in trashing the competition. Case in point? Today, we have exhibit A from HP's director of BladeSystem Strategy Richard Fichera. Wrote Fichera of the way IBM competes (or has competed):

But [IBM used to do it] with class; without being publicly strident, nasty, or making silly mistakes in public, no matter how ruthless their pursuit of each deal was.....

....Consider that while they are the reigning champ of mainframes – a business that often seems to defy gravity – they are struggling with Unix systems, have abandoned desktop PCs, which they pioneered, and according to numbers from firms like IDC, they are losing ground in blade systems, a crucial battleground. And in the course of this technological “stagflation”, they seem to have become both publicly irritable, combative, and occasionally rash.

If they were a child, I might be tempted to say they were having a tantrum.

But the real fun part comes later:

In what you might charitably describe as the polar opposite of its historical stance, IBM has responded to a competitor’s product BEFORE IT SHIPPED. IBM recently issued a document attacking Virtual Connect, a product [HP is] rumored (no comment) to be shipping shortly. While we can’t officially comment on current beta product programs, should such products in fact be shipped, there is a REALLY high probability that the author of this document will be VERY EMBARRASED when they finally get their hands on this puppy in their own labs (of course they will get one - I said “irritating”, not “stupid”).

On first blush, Fichera comes off a bit coy about Virtual Connect. It's as though Virtual Connect officially doesn't exist, but IBM will end up with egg in its face when it finally does. Then I thought I'd better Google Virtual Connect just to make sure it's as stealth as Fichera is making us think it is.  As it turns out, it's not. The search results returned tons of hits on HP's site as well as on the Web.  Confused (maybe it isnt so secret after all), I checked with spokesperson Eric Krueger, the HP public relations representative who notified me of Fichera's blog in the first place and he responded:

[Virtual Connect] was announced as a key technology pillar of the new c-Class architecture which we rolled out last June.  Expect us to make some news about some game-changing VC capabilities in the near term.

Fair enough. Something new for HP's existing Virtual Connect technology is in the works. But it's clearly not as "rumored" as Fichera makes it out to be. Now, my spider senses were tingling. I was suspicious of the rest of what Fichera wrote. So, I checked back with Krueger again and asked where I could find the "IBM response" to which Fichera was referring. Perhaps it wasn't being characterized correctly. Here it is; it's an IBM press release that draws comparisions to HP, but makes no mention of HP's Virtual Connect. Notta. My spider senses were right.

Maybe in the end, Fichera will have been proven right. But I'm hard pressed to understand how Fichera or anyone else at HP thinks it makes sense to obfuscate the facts in order to make a point. At best, it damages HP's credibility with the press (a credibility, I might add, that's already at an all-time low thanks to a recent spying scandal that involved surveillance of a reporter at my company) and at worst, it could create distrustful customers. One would think it would be in a vendors' best interest for various parties to discover the blogs of its personalities and follow up with subscriptions to that blog. For now however, this is one blog I won't be subscribing to. My RSS reader is already overloaded. So, the thing I want to crowd it with is FUD. 

Editorial standards