Following the time-honoured US custom of announcing bad news on a Friday in the hope that it will get lost in the Saturday papers that no-one reads and be forgotten by Monday, IBM last Friday raised almost every price that is not heavily encumbered by competitive pressures. As the British Chancellor of the Exchequer clobbers the smoker and the drinker in his budget each year as a matter of course, so IBM regularly hikes maintenance and software licence prices by at least twice the rate of inflation, and so it is once again this time. There are also purchase price increases in the one hardware area where IBM is not subject to fierce competitive pressure – tape products, many of which are increased 10%, effective immediately. Licences on most software are up 10%, per-call maintenance is raised 15%, both with immediate effect. Contract maintenance prices are up 4% to 10% from June, which many users may well regard as a cynical increase in the context that IBM always stresses how much more reliable each new product is than the one it replaces. Rentals on most equipment are also raised 10%, from June. IBM’s Information Network bureau service has also raised its rates on selected products 6% with effect from April.