It's amazing what can be achieved if the will exists to achieve it. Take, for example, the recent launch by an Indian consortium of a handheld device designed to bring portable computing to developing countries.
Called the Simputer, the product will run on the Linux operating system and will have similar specs to the current market leaders but at a third of the cost.
The Simputer could spell the end of the handheld as a toy for yuppy geeks. But it's worth reflecting that, if it is possible to produce a functioning, full-spec portable device for less than $200, why has no one done it before? Because nobody has wanted to.
Now consider last week's news from IBM in the US concerning proposed 'buy now, pay later' financing on some of its computer services. Big Blue has weathered the current downturn better than most, but it is surely indicative of its expectations for 2002 that it is kicking the year off with an offer unprecedented in its long corporate history.
IBM is not alone. So many vendors are offering 'zero per cent interest' deals that the sector is starting to resemble a white goods warehouse or a car showroom. Dell and Compaq are just two of the major names on this bandwagon.
Anything is possible
It is also notable that IBM's offer revolves around services and not just products. During its first quarter it is offering a 90-day deferral on business integration services, ebusiness consulting and computer systems infrastructure services such as disaster recovery. At present the offer extends to only its North and South American operations.
Would IBM have offered something so strategically fundamental as consulting services at a discount a couple of years ago? Of course not. The possibility did not exist. It takes only a small dent in sales forecasts and anything becomes possible.
Not that resellers should be complaining. A growing awareness among end users of the benefits of financing new IT infrastructure and services rather than paying for it outright and committing capital up front should be seen as good news for the channel. But too many deals are not being completed at the moment, owing to a prevailing mood of caution.
It is not just IBM that can break the mould and offer an attractive way of paying as you go. Resellers too have the option of adding finance deals to their offerings by adding value. Call it making a virtue of a necessity but, in the current climate, it is important to keep all options as open as possible.
Dell EMC partner 'very keen' to make acquisition
Robotics company UiPath claims to now be valued at $3bn after $225m funding round
Struggling security titan makes three board appointments after investor took 5.8 per cent stake last month
Commvault ousted its CEO in May and has since undergone a radical refocus