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NYTimes: I.B.M. Hews to Its Vision, Even as Growth Slows

Nov 26, 2000, 16:47 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Barnaby J. Feder)

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"[Lou Gerstner] said I.B.M., meanwhile, had continued introducing products, expanding services and adding production capacity as part of a transition that began in 1993 to exploit the $1 trillion market for e-business software, hardware and services. Inevitably, he said, the e-business winners would be established institutions and companies that had long been I.B.M.'s core customers. 'There is no new economy,' he said of the Internet. 'The wars haven't changed; it's just that somebody's invented gunpowder, and the one who uses it first will win the next battle.'..."

"Most analysts agree with much of Mr. Gerstner's assessment of where the company is headed and the steps it must take. Some doubt that I.B.M.'s lineup of servers for the Internet market is as strong as I.B.M. contends, in comparison with companies like Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. But they say the challenges are not comparable to those faced by giants like AT&T and WorldCom, which are talking about radically transforming themselves through divestitures and spin-offs - or by I.B.M. itself in 1993, when John F. Akers, Mr. Gerstner's predecessor, hired Morgan Stanley to study similar steps...."

"There are firm skeptics, like Bob Djurdjevic of Annex Research in Phoenix, who calls I.B.M.'s belief that customers will value its plumbing - new hardware and software - over that of competitors a major mistake. 'They still think of themselves as a technology company, but no one cares about technology today,' Mr. Djurdjevic said."

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