Smaller Blue

IBM today is a pale shadow of what it used to be:

When I was younger, IBM was the bee’s knees, tha shiznit. Fifteen years ago, I got a $5,000 check from IBM for some consulting work. I had it blown up and framed. Working with IBM meant that you were one of the best. They didn’t do anything by half measures. And they built stunning technological masterpieces from the ThinkPads to their xServers to the mighty copper-core z-mainframes.

What does IBM do now? Well, as far as I can tell they still have some impressive R&D. By and large. however, they sell “services.” Which means that they hire a bunch of know-nothings at the lowest rate possible, many of them H1-Bs fresh from six-month technical degrees at mystery-meat educational facilities of dubious standing, and they incompetently deliver on vaguely-scoped products for prices that are calculated to bleed the client just short of bankruptcy.

At least they’re still properly supporting their midrange hardware; if they weren’t, I’d probably be out of a job.

It’s pathetic, seeing the company that invented the Selectric and the Model M and the best mainframe computer in history turn into a services reseller. Think of Jaco Pastorius begging for spare change outside of Birdland, then make it fifty times worse. And then look at me typing this up on the descendant of IBM’s intellectual property, abandoned by a bunch of moronic market-watchers who didn’t understand that greatness only comes from creation, not sales or marketing.

He’s pounding away on a Lenovo. And if I ever need another Model M — my current keyboard dates to, um, 1990 — the guys who own that sliver of IBM intellectual property are here and ready to sell.


  1. fillyjonk »

    19 March 2017 · 6:36 pm

    They bought out SPSS (a stats package). It works….somewhat less well now that they own it. (Then again: we don’t have to buy the software on a regular basis and install it; we just have to pay a high site-license fee to use the web-based version).

    My first computer of my “own” (not shared at my parents’ house) was an IBM. I doubt I’d buy one today. If they still even make computers….

  2. Holly H »

    20 March 2017 · 10:02 am

    Yep, I used to dream of moving to Raleigh so I could work for their AS400 (now ‘iSeries’) division. Now the experience would involve lots of high-heels and suits. No thanks.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a comment