Tuesday, July 8, 2008

IBM introduces per-server pricing for Foundations

Did you notice that the US price for Lotus Foundations had recently crept up from $849 for 5 users to a new price of $949? It seems a bit disorganised for IBM to bring in a new price this soon after the product launch, but I don't have a problem with that particular price point - USD$190 per user is still quite competitive with Microsoft's Small Business Server.

The Australian pricing for Foundations is a bit different.

Well, actually it's a lot different...

At yesterday's presentation to Business Partners in Sydney IBM talked about the server component of Foundations costing $352.66 while client licences cost $229.46 each. Therefore a five user installation of Foundations in Australia costs AUD$1,499.96. Late last week the Australian dollar closed against the greenback at 0.9614 which means Australians are paying just over USD$1,440 for a $USD949 product.

The party line is that the local IBM office has to work at a fixed AUD to USD exchange rate which is set by some gnomes living in an inaccessible locked office somewhere in the US and no-one can do anything about it. I don't buy that story and I don't see why I need to charge my Australian customers a 50% premium over the US price just for the cost of shipping 4 CDs from the US.

Not happy IBM.

At this point it isn't clear whether this pricing includes the anti-spam and anti-virus options which would be another USD$250 value for the five user pack. If it does, then Australians are only paying a c.20% premium over the US price. Still not happy, but I can live with it.

Now that gripe is out of my system I'll take a punt at guessing at the thinking behind introducing a separate licence for the server component. IBM is quite open about its plans to push the Foundations applicance model and in that scenario it makes sense to create a separate Foundations server licence to cover those computer tasks that aren't dependant on Client Access Licences. Anyone for a Foundations powered SAN? How about a generic communications server? Or a web server marketplace with authenticated customers? I can see Foundations moving in those directions, and having a separate server licence gives IBM more flexibility than using CALs. That part of the model makes sense and you'll see that development in other markets in the near future.

1 comment:

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