On August 26, 1997, IBM issued "Notice to IBM Customers: Declaration of Plan to Discountinue Lease, Rental, and Maintenance Services on Selected Machines." The list is 18 pages long, with a discontinued item on each line.
The cover letter (Sept. 12) began: "By now, I'm sure you've heard about the Year 2000 issue. It's real. It's significant. And it will certainly affect your enterprise."
But . . . I received an e-mail on November 11. It said:
"I have worked for IBM for 19 years. I have to tell you that about twice a year they send out a massive mailing indicating what machines and software will no longer be available under lease, rental or Mainenance services. It is unrelated to the y2k problem. IBM is required to notify customers 18 months in advance of such changes... it's in the contract. Often, IBM simply wants the customer to purchase the machine and not lease it any longer. Often, the machine is 10 to 15 years old and they no longer can stock/get parts and hence they can't maintain the machine. Often it is a software program that has been replaced or updated by a newer or better program and it is no longer financially feasable to provide software fixes or updates to it.
"While there may be cause to wave one's arms about the y2k problem, rest assured that the "Discontinue Lease" is simply business as usual."
Fair enough. But why did the cover letter mention y2k? This much seems clear: the discontinued support will surely affect old machines which are not y2k compliant. What will those firms do between now and 2000? And how many of them won't make the switch in time?