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Alarm bells ring at Big Blue brekker

It's a direct betrayal of the channel

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Just before Doug LeGrande, general manager of IBM's PSG Emea was about to stab his business partners in the front, the fire alarm went off at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel, Baker Street. Two fire engines duly turned up to put out the non-existent fire and we returned to the basement to watch LeGrande perform his act of virtual arson, with us to fan the flames. We already knew about the meeting in Monaco six weeks ago, when LeGrande told his BPs about Big Blue's plans. (Story: Big Blue makes European channel u-turn look like a fast oil tanker -- and many another story much earlier this year). But the McCoy is this: "We're introducing new Ts&Cs, reducing price protection effective March next year. "The major focus for us is end customers, not channel loading. We've adapted our Ts&Cs to stimulate end user sales. We will not repeat the problems of the past which end up with problems for all concerned. "We've a new term called fat free fulfilment aimed at squeezing out any element of cost through the channel to the end user. Excess fat comes out. "We told our BPs in Monaco that we'll no longer say no to customers who say will you sell direct. Our BPs appreciated the fact we told them what we were going to do." So they didn't stab the channel in the back. It was in the front. And IBM has once more repeated the mistakes of the past. If Mike Lunch, former GM of the IBM PC Co in the UK, was dead, he'd be spinning in his grave. ®

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