Softek Makes Grab for BMC Users

Offers free SRM software to customers 'abandoned' by BMC. Cheap stunt or smooth move?

March 25, 2003

2 Min Read
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Fujitsu Software Technology Corp. (Softek) is trying to make some hay at the expense of BMC Software Inc. (NYSE: BMC) by offering a free license for its resource management software to customers who were "abandoned" by BMC's decision to pull the plug on its own storage software product (see Fujitsu Softek Targets BMC Users).

Through Sept. 30, 2003, Softek, a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. (KLS: FUJI.KL), says it will offer a free license -- and free, on-site installation -- for its Storage Manager software to any BMC Patrol Storage Manager (PSM) customer.

However, Softek will charge any ex-BMC customers an annual maintenance fee of 18 percent of the list price of the software. Storage Manager, which provides multivendor storage resource management, starts at $25,000.

In January, BMC decided to discontinue development of PSM, with version 2.2 being the last. At the same time, BMC also nixed plans to integrate Invio Software Inc.'s automation engine into the software and ended up laying off about 45 employees from its storage group (see BMC Folds Storage Unit and BMC Lops Heads).

Softek officials say they haven't actually lined up any BMC customers for conversion yet. And how, exactly, does it plan to make money on this scheme? "We don't," says Scott Shimomura, director of product marketing at Softek. "What we're trying to do is demonstrate to the industry that we're committed to this product and that we think this is a viable area."The "Softek Rescue" program is also intended to be a loss leader, of sorts, for sales of additional software and services if customers need them at some point in the future, Shimomura says.

BMC, meanwhile, isn't amused by the Softek stunt. Dan Hoffmann, BMC's director of enterprise storage management, acknowledges that some customers are "still feeling some pain" from the company's decision to pull out of the market. But, he says, "We don't believe that simply swapping out Patrol Storage Manager for anyone's software is good for customers." He notes that BMC has committed to supporting the product through January 2005.

Hoffmann adds that switching SRM packages is potentially disruptive and requires a significant investment of time and resources. We should point out, of course, that it is BMC itself that is forcing customers to consider the question of where they go from here.

One large BMC PSM customer, who did not want to be identified, isn't sure what his company's next step will be, although he wasn't surprised that Softek was trying to capitalize on the situation. But at least one thing's certain: He is not happy about BMC's unexpected move.

"I think everybody was caught off guard," he says.Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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