News Special: IBM Nixes New Warp Client

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 09/18/99

About 15 months ago, IBM began talking about building Aurora, and going after just the server market, and not releasing a successor to Warp 4. However, Brad Wardell, President of Stardock Corporation Inc. saw the need for a new Warp client. He began discussions with IBM about the possibility of licensing Aurora from IBM and turning that into a client.

For the past 6 months, Stardock and IBM have been working closely together in hammering out the details of an OS/2 client. Everything from potential names to minute components that would or would not be included were discussed.
According to Brad things looked quite hopeful as recently as June 1999. Finally an agreement in principal was reached, and the last major hurdle was a meeting between the IBM'ers in favour of the Stardock proposal and IBM as a whole. That meeting was set for this week. IBM's decision, announced yesterday, was, "No!" Finally. Completely.

The part that's especially hard to take is that IBM wouldn't let Stardock, which they admitted had the best proposal of several they had seen, do anything with Aurora either.

The real puzzle is why. As I state in my editorial, the real reasons may never be known outside IBM's executive suite. IBM is quoted as saying, "it is currently not in IBM's or their customer's interests to license any current OS/2 technology on an OEM-basis." Not only does that statement fly in the face of the truth, the Warp client issue was never about licensing "technology on an OEM-basis". The only way that statement might be true is if the "customer's interest" IBM is speaking of is Microsoft's interest! Has IBM once again bent to Microsoft's will?

Does this mean OS/2 is finally dead? Of course not. Even IBM is still marketing OS/2 for the server, and as a recent article on ZDNet stated, OS/2 is even selling in client form far better than IBM had expected. OS/2 will continue to do well in desktop or client form simply because it is still the best operating system available.

--Walter Metcalf

See my editorial response to IBM's decision.

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