IBM France has now taken the local press corps to visit the Santa Palomba plant in Italy where the AS/400 is made, and one or two useful pointers came out of the visit – such as the fact that the Italian plant is turning out between 20 and 50 AS/400s a day, depending on the […]
IBM France has now taken the local press corps to visit the Santa Palomba plant in Italy where the AS/400 is made, and one or two useful pointers came out of the visit – such as the fact that the Italian plant is turning out between 20 and 50 AS/400s a day, depending on the model mix on the line at any time. It seems that all the work being done at the Italian factory on 9370s, which represent 20% of output, will be transferred, as reported (CI No 1,126) to Valencia in Spain. In France there are now claimed to be 3,000 AS/400s installed, put at 10% of the world population – which lags by some way the numbers shipped from the three IBM plants, because a substantial number of those machines are still in transit – or in dealers’ warehouses. Of the 3,000 in France, 1,000 replace System 38 and 36 machines, 1,000 have gone to users new to that level of system with 10% of those replacing competitive machines, and 1,000 have been installed as departmental systems in large accounts – evidently fulfilling the role the 9370 was intended to perform. Of the 3,000 machines, 2,000 have gone through IBM France’s 270 agents, and 40% have been financed by IBM France Finance. The split is 50-50 between the low-end and the high-end processor – 1,500 B10s and B20s, 1,500 B30 to B60, with 1,000 being B30s, the base model in the large processor range. IBM France is trying to get System 36s and 38s out and AS/400s in by offering a trade in ranging from the equivalent of $1,000 to $4,250 depending on the size of machine being installed. The rebate is not entirely altruistic: IBM doesn’t want a huge market in used 36 and 38 machines, and while some of the most valuable models will be sold to brokers, many will be scrapped. IBM France reckons that the local market for AS/400-class machines is growing at 15% a year against 7% for mainframes and 20% for micros: needless to say it aims to grow faster than the market in each segment. IBM France marketing manager signed off with the controversial claim that only IBM and the Japanese were now capable of mastering the full gamut of computer technology. The others will not disappear, but they will increasingly have to source products from third parties. Our challenge to the firms that say they want to provide complete solutions is that we have mastery over the totality of our systems.