Mike Saranga, assistant general manager of IBM’s Development Operations, says that the relationship between AIX and Systems Application Architecture is akin to following a road map. Saranga believes that while SAA and AIX will come closer, they will not converge on a single destination. Speaking at an IBM Open Systems briefing, Saranga insisted that IBM’s strategy is one of interoperability between SAA, AIX, and other vendors’ systems. He refutes the suggestion that SAA is ultimately more profitable for IBM, and dismisses the notion that it would be economically sensible to develop an SAA-compliant AIX. Or vice-versa. Open systems, he claims, represent 25% of all hardware and software sales, and that figure is growing at 20% per annum – between 5% and 10% higher than the growth of proprietary systems. Saranga says that IBM is committed to the evolution of standards, and he should know since he is currently IBM director to Transarc Corp – developer of a key part of the Distributed Computing Environment file system, a director of X Open Corp, Polygen Corp, and alternate director to the Open Software Foundation. He advocates evolution of standards rather than imposition by the most dominant player, and says that the Foundation and X Open enable everyone to contribute functionality to construct the best base. It sounds admirable, but it is not the way that Armonk has operated in the past. If IBM had entered the Open Systems market at an earlier date, if its market share were significantly larger, and if it weren’t taking so long to get products out, then perhaps it would be taking a more individualistic line. When the company made its Open Systems announcements last week (CI No 1,455), it was the first detailed elaboration of its plans for two years. Yet, despite the encouraging noises, users are going to have to wait for up to a further two years before IBM will offer Fibre Distributed Data Interface local area network products that conform to the ISO 9314 standards.