You've just worded quite a few of my thoughts about IBM's ineptitude and gross
mismanagement of their investment in OS/2.
Although official figures are hard to find IBM's $ investment in OS/2 is often
quoted to be around 2 billion dollars. That is an awful lot of money. To maintain
OS/2 is cheap compared to it's development cost. The client side of OS/2 mostly
needs additional device drivers to keep up to date since it seems that their future
intention is to have a common kernel between server and client. They could easily
make good on their investment by maintaining it and get the PC Company and other
IBM subsidiaries to support OS/2. At least get all IBM hardware to maintain OS/2
support. No matter how much IBM denies rumours that OS/2 is dead if one can buy
an MWave that does not support OS/2 one gets another impression. It's the same with
VTD that was starred in OS/2 only to leave and be developed under a different name
under a competitor's OS under Via Voice with no hope of seeing it's enhanced version
IBM now says it aims OS/2 only at Fortune 5000 corporations. They fail to recognize
the fact that small fish will eventually grow. If today's small fish are only raised
under MS OSs, I don't think IBM stands much of a chance to garner them once they
grow bigger. Warpx (web site for Warp5/6) also mentions his fright that IBM might
rise the price of Warp5 to 500$ which would put it out of reach of SOHO users. I
wouldn't be surprised to see IBM do that just as they have already increased OS/2
prices substantially as well as reduced their OS/2 maintenance costs by now getting
it done in India. (I now consider this true since I heard it from 2 IBMers who love
OS/2). I surely hope the device driver team does not lose Sam Detweiler who might
get fed up with the workload and IBM's attitude!
When I think of OS/2, I'm amazed at it's vitality considering the constant new
stuff on Hobbes or the WinOS232 project. If I think of IBM and OS/2, the future
seems bleak because of IBM. The other part of IBM that needs a spanking is Lotus.
They only give OS/2 lip service. I was repeatedly told by IBMers that Lotus is real
stubborn and does not really want to support OS/2. They were forced to do it and
it shows. This impression comes from internal IBM newsgroups discussions that were
revealed to me. My IBM internal sources request anonymity...
Response from the editor:
I don't think IBM wants OS/2 to grow. I believe they have cut a deal with Microsoft and all they want to do is sit back and let the money roll in on all those NT service contracts and software deals. This will dramtically improve their bottom line in the short run, but no one gets the better of Microsoft for long.
I agree with you so much... I will be writing these people you have listed...
When I finally decided to switch from Win95 to OS/2 the person selling me Warp 4
didn't even sound like he wanted to sell it to me... And I bought it directly from
IBM... I just kind of thought that was kind of funny... Then when I found out they
dropped support for end users (which the sales person did not tell me) I was very
unhappy... I had to learn a whole new OS from scratch.. I was lucky that I was familiar
with dos and command line stuff... and not to mention the friend that I had that
been using OS/2 sense ver. 1.0 And then and now all my friends tell me I made a
huge mistake switching but... I am the one they call when there Winbloze 95 systems
Response from the editor:
I guess your friends would think me really dumb then since I bought into IBM's OS/2 since the 2.1 days and I still can't see a reason to abandon it now. The thing is it works and works well. There is no real reason for IBM to abandon it either, except for some secret deal with Microsoft.
People know better then to ask me with help with windows.
I agree with your editorial that the situation with IBM's handling of OS/2 is
pitiful. However, the user community has been writing to Mr. Gerstner and OS/2 management
with little success. I myself have written letters to IBM regarding OS/2. If I received
a response, it was a "canned" reply that did not address the concerns
outlined in my letters. In my opinion, IBM will only respond if the OS/2 community
can adversely affect its reputation or potential for revenue.
In view of this opinion, I think that the OS/2 community must begin writing to
IBM's Board of Directors and indicate that we will cease to purchase and recommend
IBM products. This decision will be due to IBM's unwillingness to support its existing
customers that purchased its products based on product strategies, "Statements
of Direction", and marketing campaigns.
If this letter writing campaign fails to elicit improved support for OS/2, then
I would recommend the creation of one or more web sites that detail IBM's "bait
and abandon" treatment of its customers. These web sites would have to have
domain names such as "www.ibm-the risky-choice.com" and be registered
with the major search engines. The sites must provide a succinct, professional analysis
that documents how choosing IBM is a bad and risky choice.
While I am not pleased about pursuing a "scorched earth" policy, I
feel that the OS/2 user community has been backed into a corner by IBM and must
Response from the editor,
I don't think any approach, no matter how organized and how large, by the single/small business user will draw much attention from IBM. They just don't care about us, at least for the moment. The point of my editorial was to point out the anti-OS/2 policy of the IBM PC Co. This in itself is not news, as they have always seemed to make it harder for OS/2 users, but now they have made it near-impossible. I now read that M$ has it's eyes set on the running it's software on the MVS as well as UNIX platforms in a big way. These are IBM's cash cow platforms. Perhaps someday it will finally dawn on someone at IBM that their treatment of OS/2 users has been shabby at best, and certainly detrimental to the companies long term financial health.
I agree with you about contacting the board of directors, though most likely
they have been convinced that there is some sense to IBM's current windows only
on the desktop direction. Perhaps taking the message to IBM shareholders might be
an even better method of effecting change at IBM. All I know is that now it is almost
impossible to by a PC without an operating system that Microsoft has a stake in.
Hence my suggestion to contact the US Department of Justice. That was the main focus
of my editorial. You are absolutely right about contacting Mr. Gerstner and IBM.
You will just be told politely to get lost, in a standard form letter format of
The biggest problem I have here is that I can't find any software retailers selling
OS2 products - even from IBM SA, otherwise I'd happily pay for the product cash
up front. I don't require much special business software and have ended up using
MS Works and a few other Dos based apps. Because I run only a small business, I
have to say that honestly - I play a lot of games in my spare time (and now 24 years
old-good reason for playing computer games when you're not on a night out on the
town). Anyway, I'd like to subscribe to voice to get updated information and be
able to put out my views as well. Definitely hoping for a good driver for possibly
a HP colour printer that I'm considering to get in order to do some desktop publishing
along with native OS2 app -any suggestions?
Response from the editor,
Thank you for the letter. It's nice to know that there are people all over the world who appreciate quality over quantity. As to OS/2 software in South Africa, have you ever been to http://www.os2.co.za/software/ ? I have that site bookmarked and I've been waiting for someone in that area of the world to ask for it for a long time. :-) Most OS/2 software I register anymore is shareware anyway though I did just buy Smack!, a label program for OS/2 (reviewed in our newsletter a few months ago) and I plan to get the Lotus Smart Suite Upgrade soon (and our newsletter should have a review of the GA version soon). As to printers, I am extremely satisfied with my Epson 1520 Color Stylus. Great output at up to 1440x720DPI with the Epson Germany beta driver under OS/2. I also have an HP 550C, but that is a rather old (in pc terms anyway) model. I was extremely pleased with it but wanted something that could print photo quality color, hence the reason I bought the Epson. Most of the high resolution HP inkjets I've looked at seem to be windows host printers. These will only work under Windows 3.1 or 95. They won't run in DOS or NT let alone OS/2. The basic Deskjet models are fairly well supported under OS/2 though - check out
for a list of currently supported HP printers.
Keep on Warping.
Friday, April 10, 1998
Mr. Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Mr. Klein
I am writing to you today to lodge a complaint about the lack of choice in computer operating systems. Specifically the fact that IBM will no longer pre-load their own operating system OS/2 Warp on their own computer systems.
I complained to IBM about the fact that IBM's Thinkpad laptop computers and Aptiva
line only have a choice of Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows NT for operating systems.
An IBM spokesman said they are no longer focusing OS/2 on the desktop market. Whether
this makes sense or not is not the issue. They have a desktop operating system in
OS/2 Warp which is a more stable, and a technically more highly regarded platform,
then their competition, yet they refuse to promote it to the point they won't even
install it on their own hardware when requested. This also means that though they
provide free support for Microsoft operating systems, they refuse to provide the
same support for their own operating system on their own hardware.
It is my firm opinion that there is some kind of anti-competetive deal between
Microsoft and IBM PC Co. which is severely limiting my choice in personal computer
operating systems. Is this something that the Department of Justice can investigate?
"The Sis5571 has a max of 64MB. I know since it is what I have in my MTI
Mustang 534F (sept 97)."