It?s two years since David Winn, a personable character who previously worked for American Express was headhunted by IBM to be the chief of its EuropeanPC group.
Talking to the 'VNU Newswire', Winn explained why he was interested in taking over the job. ?I?d seen an article in the 'Wall Street Journal' in 1994, which said the PC Company was losing $1 billion a year,? he said. ?That interested me. ?
The problem, he explained, was not easy to solve but he has done his best to square the IBM circle. ?There are so many matrices within matrices within IBM that it can be very confusing,? he explained.?
That has not encouraged the 47-year old to leave Big Blue because he believes he has succeeded in turning the European operation around. But his job is not yet over and he is not particularly interested in being wooed back to banking.
?This is a very difficult business. This is the most ferocious marketplace in the second half of the twentieth century. You've had AT&T enter this business, Sony is in there because of the consumer marketplace, and we?re downstream from two monopolies, Intel and Microsoft,? says Winn.
It is a difficult business for IBM for many reasons. It?s possible, Winn says, for a PC company to be caught with excess stock, which is on its way to obsolescence swiftly. That isn?t the only danger. Distribution is a difficult business, so even if you have the right stock on time, making sure it is delivered on time is also not easy.
There is also a problem because IBM has not only to compete with number one player Compaq but a variety of other vendors, he says. There are country champions like Tulip in Holland, says Winn, but one of the major difficulties is that there is little edge in pushing out PC boxes. ?There is no barrier to entry and there is a limit to any proprietary edge a company can make.?
So is IBM Emea crumbling? Winn thinks not. He says the value added services IBM can offer will ensure that the PC Company in Europe will stay intact.
That, of course, depends on whether his ultimate boss, Lou Gerstner, is beginning to see the figures stack up.
Winn thinks they are. There isn?t necessarily a good profile on the server market but in desktops IBM is winning business, he says. Compaq?s problems with Armada notebooks don?t concern him either.
So how has Winn done in his two years' championship? The SME division Gerstner set up last year seems to have merged, in some virtual way, with the old IBM PC Company structure. Last October, there was a restructuring at IBM when people from the RS group, like Bill Colt, ex-head of the RS group and now in charge of PC servers, and AS/400 folk like Steve Menedue, suddenly became part of the PC Company.
Can Winn survive? Lou Gerstner, IBM's chief executive, is a figures man and if the numbers are right, he will pay handsomely. David Winn seems relatively unconcerned. If the figures don?t add up, he can always go back to banking. But, he confesses, that is not nearly so interesting as PCs in the run up to the millennium.
Geoengineering on the sea floor near glaciers would form a new ice shelf to prevent melting
Alterations in capillary blood flow can be caused by body position change
Curiosity rover is in 'normal mode' but not transmitting scientific data back to base
NatWest outage comes a day after Barclays' IT systems shut out customers and staff