Critics rattle IBM

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The Independent Online
THE personal computer industry got nasty this week at New York's PCExpo, when IBM directors accused three of the world's leading technology analysts of deliberately giving inaccurate predictions for sales of its flagship software product, the personal computer operating system OS/2 Warp.

The analysts from Dataquest, Romtech and IDC predict that by 2000, OS/2 Warp will have less than 5 per cent of the PC operating system market. They say that Microsoft - whose Windows systems IBM is challenging - could hold more than 90 per cent.

Jo Anne Sager, a director at IBM, banned a British computer journalist from a follow-up conference for putting a question based on the figures to other IBM directors. She then told the journalist: "These analysts have made these predictions because they have a vested interest in Microsoft's success with Windows '95... they are misleading you."

The accusations were bolstered by Dan Lautenbach, IBM's vice-president of personal software products. He said analysts would not change predictions even if market forces dictated that they should do so. "These companies [the analysts] have their opinions, but we don't agree with their opinions."

Paul Wheaton, corporate communications manager at Data- quest, condemned IBM's remarks. He said: "This is a ridiculous accusation. Dataquest is built upon being a reliable source of information for market research. It would not be in any of the analysts' interests to malign IBM. How the numbers come out is how the numbers come out."