A new LinuxWorld article includes interviews with five IBM Software Group executives, in which they discuss a range of strategic technologies, including on-demand computing, the IBM Software Development Platform, Eclipse, Java technology, Linux, grid computing, autonomic computing, and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Collectively and individually, their comments reflect the priority IBM puts on technologies.
Of particular note is this quote from Lotus GM Ambuj Goyal:
"Customer choice has always been important to IBM. It is why we have created a standards based model for delivering products and services across the on demand operating environment. The flexibility a customer gets with IBM software allows them to decide their future IT investments. We adapt to customers needs; we do not expect them to adapt to our technology."
IBM's ongoing commitment to customer choice -- and its corresponding vested interest in supporting open standards -- sets it apart in the industry. For IBM, this commitment is a no-brainer that's critical to the company's success, given the wide array of hardware platforms, operating systems, and environments IBM supports with its broad set of products. It is this focus -- on customer choice, customer wants and needs, and promoting open, cross-platform standards -- that prompted me to give up my independent journalist hat and join the IBM developerWorks team.
Of course IBM, like any company, puts tremendous emphasis on the bottom line. But unlike many of its peers, IBM does not promote a proprietary, vendor lock-in approach. On the contrary, IBM sees its commitment to choice, open standards, and cross-platform interoperability (which is reflected by IBM's wide range of products) as a competitive advantage.
IBM Rational GM Mike Devlin's comments further reflect IBM's continued focus on choice, standards, and interoperability:
"Our customers live in a heterogeneous world. Rational will continue to support non-IBM runtimes, and wherever possible seek to advance standards that allow for maximum interoperability. IBM's work with Microsoft on Web Services, BEA on Simplified Data Objects, and the OMG with UML 2.0 are examples of this effort. ...
"Organizations will have a choice to make as they move into the next generation of software and systems development. That choice is to place their development information into a closed proprietary information model, or to use an open set of frameworks that they have complete access to, that are completely transparent in their implementation. Eclipse is about openness and competing based on value, not on lock-in."
Given that developerWorks strives to support open, cross-platform, standards-based development, I appreciate seeing remarks like these coming from top IBM executives.