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Zamin

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Reply with quote  #1 
During a meeting yesterday with our systems director to review our software usage and prepare a budget for next year, he complained that at his last job they were forced to use a bunch of software from one vendor only because it was bundled together and they could not separate the pieces to enable them to get software from other vendors. He gave this as his reason for not buying any software form certain vendors, and why I heard about this organization in the first place. He made an interesting remark, and I am bringing it here in hopes of discussing the idea. He said that bundling software stopped small vendors being able to sell their software and in turn that stopped them building new and innovative products. This then reduced the pool of software available to choose from, so that only a small number of "standard" products were available. His claim is that bundling was not just a strategy to get all the business on any given system but also to reduce competition .

So what do you think?
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Grazillda

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Reply with quote  #2 
Ime guessing that there is a small group of organizations that have an attitude like your director. About 5 years ago our committee on technology decided to avoid certain big name vendors because of the bundling issue. When that happens those companies loose all their business from a customer. Finding system automation was no problem, obviously, but other functions that we needed was a different matter, and we had to look outside of north america for solutions. I think it would be a good idea to get together lists of competitive functions from other vendors, so that people like us can mix and match. After being involved in a software search, I don't think all the creativity is stifled, I think you need to look in other countries where bundling was less of a problem. Look in Germany, Brazil and Canada for vendors.
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Zamin

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Reply with quote  #3 
It is some of the bigger funtcions that determine which ISVs you go to. Like tape management. What we need to do is compile a list of ISVs and the parts of the unbundled solutions they can provide. Now that the world is a global village and we can get software and support at the speed of the internet, it doesn't matter where they are located. There are ISVs in Asia and South America now. How about using this thread to get a list together of alternate companies?
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automan

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Reply with quote  #4 
We have a number of partner companies who produce software for z/OS. Their creativity has not really been stifled. They represent brilliant creative people. They have commented that "bundling" has made sales in some markets, particularly the US market, more difficult, but this is not so much of a factor in the growing markets like Brazil. There is in fact a move by a number of US customers to move away from companies that force bundling, and most of the enquiries we have gotten from US organizations in the past 3 or 4 years are from companies that are looking for alternative. As a result we are partnering with software development companies that produce very fine products that can provide alternatives. For instance one of the big contentions is tape management. So if we get an enquiry from someone who needs both automation and tape management, we will direct them to those partners.
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Nbedrin

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Reply with quote  #5 
We are very familiar with that type of complaint from our clients, and we believe it is largely indicative of the issues that arise when they are forced to purchase bundled software from vendors. Unfortunately, many of them aren't aware that they do have other options with regards to z/OS software, especially in an oligopoly-dominated market. Vendors typically bundle software simply because they can charge more for selling these additional features, and as previously mentioned, the customer is left dependent on those vendor-specific products, and it makes that much harder for smaller competitors to compete effectively in the market.

Our company, GFS Software, develops tape management software that is both sold separately by function, and customized (free of charge) to suit our clients' individual business needs. We feel it's not a fair business practice to force bundled software on our clients, or use proprietary data formats that don't work without our software.
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automan

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Reply with quote  #6 
Nbedrin thanks for your comment. Tape management seems to be one of the major areas that people complain about. Feel free to post web links to your company and products. We want people to be aware of all the companies that address this bundling issue, so that users know they have choices. At some point we will put up a page where all these other manufacturers can be listed.
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