IBM server team calls HP 'clueless' and says Unisys's 'days are numbered'

Sticks and chipsets break bones


In the ultra-competitive server market, vendors often turn to propaganda as a tool for helping customers "make the right hardware choice." This public propaganda, however, is rather innocuous when compared to internal competitive putdowns. Case in point - a confidential IBM server presentation obtained by The Register.

The presentation lays out a rallying cry for IBM employees around the company's new Hurricane chipset designed to power Xeon servers. IBM explains why this chipset, which cost it millions upon millions to produce, will make Big Blue's servers unique and far superior to kit from HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems and Unisys. So how exactly are IBM employees meant to see the competition now that Hurricane is on the market?

In the presentation, IBM begins by describing HP as "64-bit Clueless" - a jab at HP's Itanium product line and refusal to make its own chipsets for the x86-64-bit Xeon processor. It's then said that Dell will do "Anything for a dollar" that Unisys's "Days are numbered!" and that S-U-N is the answer to the question "How do you spell desperate?"

To really rub it in, IBM later in the presentation says that HP "Bet on the Wrong Horse," that Dell is "Struggling in the High-end" and that Unisys is "Lost in the weeds." For Sun, IBM jokes, "What if we give away Solaris? Answer: So what?"

Such bravado seems reserved for IBM's xSeries line of Xeon-based servers. Most of IBM's non-RISC or mainframe server research and development budget goes toward these boxes, leaving much less cash for Itanium and Opteron servers. IBM is hoping that its Hurricane chipset for these Xeon boxes will help it continue to gain share against the likes of HP and Sun on midrange kit.

The first server to go on the market using the Hurricane chipset is the four-processor x366.

IBM has been much more vocal about this box than its new Opteron blade server. Big Blue has yet to say a single word about the system to reporters even though it has been on sale since last week. It seems Intel still wears the marketing pants in Armonk.

That is unless there's Dell bashing going on. IBM reckons that when Dell is asked about really large systems it will "introduce customers to a line of HDTVs." ®

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