An IBMer writes in to explain

So I just got email from “Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger” and I must say, I just don’t trust people who have Ph.D.s and call themselves Doctor So-and-so. I mean, okay, you’ve got a Ph.D. I didn’t go to college. Who has more money? Who invented the friggin iPod? Nuff said, Mr. Big Brain. Anyhoo. Here’s what Irving has to say:

Dear Steve,
I think maybe you were a little rough on Sam in that item on your blog. You’re still operating under some very old ideas about what IBM is like and how we operate. The company has really changed since the days of your “Big Brother” ad. In fact one reason for Sam’s visit was to reach out to you and explain a bit about the new IBM. These days we’re all about sharing and openness, Steve. We’re driving the open-source revolution. We really believe that no one company has a monopoly on innovation. That’s why we’re reaching out to people all around the world and encouraging them to sign over their IP and let us put their brilliant ideas to work in lucrative consulting engagements. Why do you hoard your marvelous OS X operating system and those fantastic iLife applications? Why do you keep the workings of an iPod secret? Think how much more valuable those things would be if you would stop charging money for them and just let anyone copy them for free.

I know it sounds upside down at first. But here at the new IBM we’re all about taking your hard work and intellectual property and using it to help our customers. I know. You’re thinking, Wait a minute. What the fuck? You want me to do all the work, and you get all the money? A lot of people balk at this. Hey, I was there once too. But that’s the old way of thinking, Steve. The world is changing. Closed, proprietary systems are becoming extinct. Today it’s all about maximizing responsiveness, accelerating speed to market and responding to customers.

The customer is now in charge. And it’s an On Demand world. And what those customers are demanding is that you give them your stuff free. We’ve done huge amounts of research on this. We asked, How much do you want to pay for software? For computers? Kept getting the same answer: Zero. Well, IBM is listening to customers and responding to that dynamic and evolving with the market to meet the needs of end users. We’re looking for the best and most innovative ideas. Whether those ideas come from inside IBM or from outside our walls doesn’t matter. It’s kind of like how scientists work, or academics, by standing on the shoulders of giants. You give us a gigantic idea, we’re not going to compete against it, or try to kill it. We’re going to take it from you, jump on its shoulders, and sell it. We’re open.

Instead of the old “not invented here” syndrome, we’re saying to innovators, look, whoever you are, wherever you live, share your ideas with us, and you know what? We’ll use them. And we’ll give you one hundred percent of the credit. All we get is the money. Sure, we knew we were taking a risk by embracing this new open way of doing business with partners, but once we made the leap we found this new model works so much better than the old one, where we had to actually hire engineers and pay them. It’s a new world, Steve. So what do you say? Are you gonna be a change agent? Will you embrace the disruption? Can we count on you to jump in and join us for the big win?