Amdahl has been forced into an embarrassing branding change for its newest mainframe product after IBM made threatening noises about copyright infringement.
The high-end server and services company announced its Omniprise server last December to much fanfare as a counter to IBM's Multiprise 3000. Amdahl described the server as a mid-range, cut-price mainframe designed to compete against Unix competition for medium-size companies or single application workloads.
However, insiders say IBM was furious at the similarity in brand and informally told its competitor that the Omniprise branding was unacceptable. It is understood that Amdahl backed down before IBM contacted its lawyers.
IBM representatives claimed that Amdahl's branding was a "violation of our intellectual property and [Amdahl] has been forced to change the name to the 1000 series".
An Amdahl spokesman said the name was changed after discussions with IBM, but declined to give details. Amdahl's website this week showed the impact of the decision. It now advertises the Amdahl 1000 family.
Amdahl sells mainframes that run IBM's operating system and processors, but which are otherwise its own design, with the assistance of parent company Fujitsu.
The two companies continue to go tooth and nail for this new so-called low-end market for the mainframe. Speaking at IBM's annual channel event Partnerworld last week, S/390 platform director Brenda Zawatski told channel partners that environmentals, such as physical factors and power consumption, are enough to differentiate the IBM box.
"The Omniprise would make a good boat anchor," she told channel partners. "It weighs 2,200 pounds against the Multiprise 3000 at under 400 pounds, and measures eight foot by six foot against 30 inches across for our product. Environmentals alone should help you close this deal very quickly."
An Amdahl spokesman said the 1000 series had better performance and up to 8Gb of system memory, whereas IBM limited customers to a paltry 1Gb.
One of the principal advantages of these boxes is their comparatively low costs for software licensing, under IBM's Growth Opportunity License Charge (GLOC) programme. However, this is dependent on software vendors signing up to the scheme. Computer Associates and Serena Software are already members.
Amdahl is still seeking approval for its 1000 series to use the GLOC pricing scheme, but was unable to say whether this factor had any influence on the branding change.
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