Upfront: Making IBM Earn Your Money

The way you look at something often determines its value, both for yourself and those you influence. Take the AS/400 for example. When placed within the context of overall human history, the AS/400 has been around for only a heartbeat. Within the context of technology, however, the AS/400 has achieved quite a high level of longevity.

The AS/400 has reached a pivotal time in its existence, not simply because IBM is powering ahead with its e-business, Java and thin-client initiatives, but because the market’s acceptance of this new technology will be quite telling.

I’ve heard from more than a few people during the preparation of this 10th anniversary issue of MIDRANGE Systems that IBM has to be "careful" of getting too far ahead of its user base and their purchasing power. I don’t know that I would choose the word "careful" as much as I would use words like "diligent," "perceptive" or "patient."

Technology is typically scariest to those who cannot afford to keep up with it. For those still wrestling with issues such as the jump from CISC to RISC, green screen to GUI or Twinax to IP, many of the advanced features of V4R3 haven’t quite made their corporate wish list yet.

But that’s one of the beauties of the AS/400. Aside from Year 2000 compliance, AS/400 users are not under a lot of pressure to make drastic changes. They have the luxury of waiting for the newest technologies to mature because they already have a solid, yet adaptable foundation.

IBM is confident the AS/400 market is ripe for the new technology being offered to it. The real challenge now is communicating just how tangible these developments are to both the existing AS/400 user base and the overall IT consumer market.