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May 30, 1998 Reader Survey Results

OS/2 users often live a strange paradox. They experience bitterness towards IBM for perceived marketing ineptness or disinterest in OS/2 while, at the same time, they love OS/2 itself. But IBM's indifference to the SOHO and home users of OS/2 is nothing new. For some time, many people in the OS/2 community have been pursuing strategies designed to eliminate IBM from the OS/2 market or at least minimize their importance. Some argue that we could go it alone, and some even argue that we should.

To find out exactly how much we really value IBM's involvement, last issue we asked you about "IBM's Support".

Answers to our survey were accepted from May 30th until June 11th. We had a total of 1,346 replies to our questionnaire with 84 "spoiled" entries (replies were considered "spoiled" if they did not contain an e-mail address, if all questions were not answered or if they were duplicates). This left 1,262 valid replies. The results were as follows:

Is it important for IBM to adapt OS/2 to run (well) on the Intel Merced CPU?

Intel, second only to that other master of vaporous announcements, recently revealed some of the details of its next super-processor, code named "Merced". Many operating system vendors immediately jumped on this bandwagon with their own announcements that they would port their products to "full 64-bit compatibility". Notably absent from this list of early adopters, however, was IBM with an announcement about an OS/2 update.

Do you care? Yes! Almost three quarters of our readers (74.0%) told us that they felt Merced updates from IBM would be very or somewhat important. A significant group were indifferent or unsure (17.7% -- possibly due to the fact that "Merced" does not even exist yet) but with only 8.1% reporting that they felt Merced support was unimportant, it's clear OS/2ers want to maintain support for the latest Intel chips.

Is it important for IBM to release Netscape Communicator 4.0 for OS/2?

A long time ago, in an IBM far, far away, there was a brief period of intense euphoria when it seemed that the world's most popular web browser suite would be ported to OS/2. Reports on this often promised, never delivered product have ranged from "it's dead" to "it's done but will not be released". Nevertheless, the fact is that IBM and Netscape have been "working on" an OS/2 port of Netscape Communicator 4.0 for over a year and most of us have not seen a glimpse of it. To complicate things, when Netscape announced they would release the source code for Communicator 5.0 (one revision newer than the product IBM has yet to finish porting!), numerous people in the OS/2 community immediately announced they would take the code and produce a public freeware OS/2 port.

With all this delay and confusion, does anyone care if IBM ever finishes their interminable project? Surprisingly, yes. If you walked into a room of OS/2ers it might be hard to find anyone that didn't think it was important for IBM to release Communicator 4.0 -- only 3.0% of our readers told us they didn't think so. A whopping 94% felt it was important with nearly three in four (74.0%) saying it was very important (emphasis added). We fear that the private individuals' port of Communicator 5 may see the light of day (or the LA Kings might play an outdoor home game) before IBM ever releases theirs, but we can always hope...

Is it important for IBM to offer free technical support for OS/2?

In the dim past of computer history (1995, to be exact), when IBM was actually pursuing the desktop operating system market, many of us got our first taste of OS/2 Warp (then version 3.0). Naturally, as was the style at the time, Warp 3 came with free tech support. Those days seem to be long gone as far as OS/2 is concerned and it is questionable whether the tech support IBM could now provide for OS/2 is really very valuable anyway. Regardless, our readers still want IBM's help with OS/2 and they want it for free. While slightly more people felt it was "somewhat important" than felt it was "very important", the two categories combined accounted for 71.0% of those replying to our survey last time.

However, the minority that felt free tech support from IBM was unimportant should not be discounted. More than a quarter (27.5%) felt it was somewhat or very unimportant or were just plain indifferent.

What are your plans for IBM's Software Choice subscription?

Some time ago IBM announced that the only way to purchase future versions of some products (including OS/2 itself) would be to purchase a "Software Choice" subscription. This program is clearly targeted at businesses as it is not the traditional sales model end-users are familiar with. Not surprisingly, not many of our readers have subscribed yet (only 7.4%) and only a handful (4.1%) are definitely planning to do so in the future. However, nearly a quarter (23.4%) tell us they probably will subscribe eventually. All these together make only 34.9% -- a little over a third of people responding. Compare that to those who will probably or definitely not subscribe (40.1%) and you can see that OS/2ers are nearly evenly split on the value of Software Choice.

* * *

That's it for this issue. Don't forget to fill out this issue's questionnaire and check back on June 13th for complete results.

Complete May 30, 1998 Survey Results

Is it important for IBM to adapt OS/2 to run (well) on the Intel Merced CPU?

Very important56144.5%
Somewhat important37229.5%
Somewhat unimportant695.5%
Very unimportant332.6%
I am indifferent14111.2%
I am not sure826.5%
I do not understand the question40.3%

Is it important for IBM to release Netscape Communicator 4.0 for OS/2?

Very important93474.0%
Somewhat important25220.0%
Somewhat unimportant262.1%
Very unimportant110.9%
I am indifferent342.7%
I am not sure50.4%
I do not understand the question00.0%

Is it important for IBM to offer free technical support for OS/2?

Very important39731.5%
Somewhat important49939.5%
Somewhat unimportant17013.5%
Very unimportant544.3%
I am indifferent1229.7%
I am not sure191.5%
I do not understand the question10.1%

What are your plans for IBM's Software Choice subscription?

I have already subscribed947.4%
I will definitely subscribe524.1%
I will probably subscribe29523.4%
I will probably not subscribe39831.5%
I will definitely not subscribe1088.6%
I am not sure30023.8%
I do not understand the question151.2%


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