Sometime back I did an interview with someone I called Bill Gates and Microsoft: A benevolent dictator. That has turned out to be relatively accurate in the technology business whether we like it or not.

On the other side of the coin, we have IBM, who for nearly a century has had its way with

the market place.

The U.S. government tried for decades to break IBM up they way the did with Standard Oil, but finally Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, in his infinity wisdom decided if he could beat them he would join them and ended the attack on IBM.

For resellers such as myself, I have the same problem in one aspect I compete with them as they try to undercut resellers in general on deals to win the lucrative service revenue. But, I also need IBM as a partner to deliver the best technology solutions possible for my customers.

Even with the recent news about the HP and Compaq merger, all the maladies with companies in our industry, IBM still manages to get headlines in the press, everywhere we turn, we are likely to see something either good or bad about them or by them.

Let me address two main facts about IBM.

IBM is in business to deliver value and equity to its shareholders.

Like every other company it must deliver value and resources to customers.

As both a customer and competitor with IBM, it is a fine line we all have to walk. On the one hand, we try to keep each other happy at some customers, while on the other hand we are competing against them with other partners or customers.

Of late, I have gotten to know some of the folks there personally, and I can tell you we frustrate each other at times, but we do have to make money together.

IBM, through their reseller and channels sales and marketing team is doing a pretty good job with several resellers ourselves included. I have spoken to, let’s face it we do talk sometimes. Even with the challenges of their direct relationships, their Global Services initiatives, their Web business, their Notes business, their price and availability problems we all face, they might indeed be the best business partner we have today. Matter of fact, we may bank on it.

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