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2002 IBM Internal Email on Project Monterey - "No One Wants It"
Thursday, August 25 2005 @ 12:09 PM EDT

This is a fascinating document, because it tells us about IBM's efforts regarding Project Monterey and how it died. It's an email, dated November 6, 2002, from Bill Bulko in IBM's Austin unit to another IBM guy in Austin. It's Exhibit 4 of document #495-1, a collection of exhibits SCO calls Unsealed Exhibits to Memorandum in Support of SCO's Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (15(a) and 16(b) [PDF]. The Third Amended Complaint is Exhibit 1 in the collection. More on that document next.

The email says that IBM decided that Project Monterey had no prospects, after six months of trying to market it. They did release it, but almost no one bought it, or as the email puts it, "we have been trying to distribute Monterey, but no one wants it." The royalties they had to pay to SCO, as a result, are laughable. It's evidence that what they said in the email about no one wanting it is true. The email lists the internal position and what they planned to say externally. The "no one wants it" part is in the internal list. That matches what we found in old news clippings as well, that it was a product that died aborning, mainly because of issues with the Itanium chip, but also because the marketplace had started to move to Linux. One thought, in all fairness, that has to be pointed out is that the IBM external position may have ended up reflected in some of the news stories of the day. But the inescapable fact is that you can't make customers buy a product they don't want.

IBM, the email informs us, put Project Monterey on the PRPQ list. What is that? According to this IBM Redbooks glossary for iSeries servers, it means Programming Request for Price Quotation (IBM's International Technical Support Center produces Redbooks -- how-to manuals on a wide range of technical subjects). As you will notice on this page, Communications Server for Linux v6.0.1.3 PRPQ and for Linux on zSeries v6.0.1.0 PRPQ are or were in that same category, for example, so it doesn't mean IBM doesn't want to sell something to you. Here is an explanation of the term in a comp.unix.aix FAQ:

PRPQ - programming request for price quotation. Essentialy [sic], a program that is not available off-the-shelf. (e.g. HACMP started as a PRPQ, you could not order HACMP, but you could ask IBM for a highly-available solution)

HACMP is IBM's High Availability Cluster Multi-Processing for AIX. If you go to Google or wherever you like to search and use keywords "HACMP IBM", you will see that PRPQ doesn't mean IBM is trying to kill a product. In this case, though, it does mean that they were aware that it had no future.

There are more exhibits in this collection, all the worst emails SCO could find, and I'll write more on them and where this one fits into the timeline as we have them ready.


Bill Bulko

11/06/2002 03:41 PM

This document expires on 02/04/2003

To: Anthony Befi/Austin/IBM@IBMUS
From: Bill Bulko/Austin/IBM@IBMUS
Subject: Project Monterey update
Importance: Urgent

Tony: you asked me to collect some data on the current status of Project Monterey in order to update you before you meet with SCO(Caldera) again. I spoke with Ron Lauderdale, Sharon Dobbs, and Bill Saulnier. Here is a capsule summary of our position with Project Monterey.


* We made a deal with SCO (before it was bought by Caldera) that we would take the AIX and SCO code and produce an IA-64 product.

* From IBM's side: we would jointly develop a 64-bit Intel version of Unix that would be the first and best available on the market using AIX as a base, but with SCO code for portions of the product.

* From SCO's side: since they were the 32-bit leader in the market, this would give them and their customers an easy migration to 64-bit.

* The deal was to do joint development and then establish licensing back and forth between the two companies. The license would be royalty-free everywhere else except in Monterey. Even though SCO code is now embedded within AIX, we would only have to pay royalties to SCO when we distributed Monterey. Likewise, SCO owes IBM royalties when it distributes the product.

* As you know, when we changed strategic direction, we made Monterey a PRPQ.


* We distributed 32 copies of the PRPQ in 2001, resulting in only $256 in royalties paid to SCO.

* We believe we owe SCO royalties in 2002 - but very little. We will be paying only $8 in royalties per copy. Sharon Dobbs is trying to determine the actual number of copies distributed in 2002.

* The PRPQ is out of date and does not support the hardware currently being shipped by Intel. There are no plans to update it. AIX 5L has moved considerably since development on this version was stopped.

* The PRPQ is still available as of this date but is being withdrawn as we speak: the announcement has already been made, and it will be effective sometime in December.


* SCO(Caldera) is still entitled to royalties from any distribution or sales of Monterey. IBM will no longer owe royalties once PRPQ is withdrawn. They may be checking or they may want to know if there is any plan to resurrect the product.

* Our initial license to SCO code was contingent on our making an attempt to distribute an IA-64 product. Consequently, we need to be clear that we have been trying to distribute Monterey, but no one wants it.

What our external position regarding Monterey should be:

* We have been distributing Monterey since May 2001, but there have been very few takers.

* We have no plans to make AIX available on the Itanium platform.

* The slow adoption of Itanium in the market place and the quick maturity of Linux over the past few years makes Linux better suited for the Itanium market. Many of the qualities of service that customers have come to expect from AIX will be made available on Linux.

* We are planning to EOL Monterey by the end of this year.

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