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March 22, 1988

MICROCHANNEL RUMBLED? IT’s A TECHNO-WEENIE, SAYS IBMer

By CBR Staff Writer

In an hilarious piece, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal took the lid off IBM’s Personal System/2 to look at the Microchannel, and reckons that while the emperor may not be quite naked, he’s only wearing a bathing suit, according to Lotus research and development vice-president Edward Belove. The Journal found several major users who had insisted on buying PS/2s rather than MS-DOS clones, but couldn’t find one who could explain any benefits conferred by the Microchannel – and got an (unidentified) IBM strategist to admit that IBM’s promoting the Microchannel is like telling you the engine in your car has aluminum double-skirted pistons… There is a benefit, but it’s a techno-weenie. That quote made IBM Entry Systems chief William Lowe very cross: This is not whether you’re buying Shell or Texaco, or whether you’ve got MFP or not in the toothpaste, he protested. This is a high-investment, technology-driven business that’s delivering more applications and more capability to more people every day and I think there’s a big difference. But the IBM marketing strategist was unrepentent: In a world that wants to make these things into commodities, you’d like to have exclusive features, he says: Noone wants to get into a price war.

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