One of the software industry's longest rivalries is not between open source and proprietary software, but rather between IBM and Microsoft. The two companies have long pretended to like each other, even while stabbing the other in the back.
So it should come as no surprise that in the course of announcing its partnership with Novell around Open Collaboration Suite, it was ironic (and very funny) to hear IBM calling out Microsoft for too much "control of IT spending."
The sales pitch is designed to emphasize that customers can make cost savings by running computers without Microsoft software, and also to tap into fears that Microsoft's monopoly of the desktop computing and office tools market gives it control over IT spending, IBM said. "An awful lot of the spending dollars available to customers is currently going to desktop software," Doug Heintzman, director of strategy for IBM collaboration, said.
What Mr. Heintzman fails to note is that much of the remainder of IT dollars is going to...IBM. Twice what enterprises pay Microsoft.
How generous of IBM to free up those IT dollars...to be spent on IBM software, hardware, and services. $100 billion is apparently not enough.
I don't fault IBM for wanting more money. That's what business is all about. But I just find it funny to see a company that controls roughly $100 billion of IT dollars complaining about Microsoft's $51 billion in IT dollars. I know it's just marketing, but the irony is thick....