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AuthorTopic: Mai Excited about Validation!  (Read 5319 times)

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Offline Targhan

Mai Excited about Validation!
« on: February 24, 2003, 11:17:14 PM »
Mai Logic recently touted a validation from IBM's "Ready for IBM" partnership program.  When I first looked into this topic, it looked as if it were a complete farce meant to mislead customers.  Upon further inspection, the whole thing appeared that I was wrong.  Then, I contacted a third party about their validation with IBM...  The results?  It's just your standard run of the mill spin on daily business activities to make something look far more important than it really is!  Yet, it still makes one want to ask, "Is there Truth in Advertising?'

So you've decided to look into the "Truth in Advertising," have you?  Good choice, since many companies, even outside the Amiga community, look for loopholes, freebies, and other methods to mislead their customers and clients.

 In our case, we'll be examing Mai Logic's Press-Release, in which they state that they EARN a validation from IBM.  Naturally, this "validation" is touted as if it's a "certification" of their product's quality, performance, etc.  In fact, they even used the word earn to provide the connotation that they had to work for some prestigious certification.  All of this begs the questions: What is this validation?  What did Mai Logic have to do to earn this validation?  Finally, does this validation mean anything?  

Preface: Before reading any further, you must understand that this is a stab at the wheels of the technology industry as a whole, and that Mai's Press-Release is just one example of many.  This article does not attempt to state that Mai's chipsets are anything other than what they advertise.  However, it is a direct example of how companies, including Mai, take things out of context to give their customers and/or clients an extra sense of security.

To start really digging into the topic, one must look at what the Validation is for.  According to IBM's own website:

Quote
Ready for IBM Technology solutions are designed to help OEM customers speed time to market, reduce development risk, lower development costs, and improve return on investment. The Ready for IBM Technology mark identifies solutions that have been tested and validated for compatibility with IBM Microelectronics products by the solution developers and assures that these solutions are compatible with IBM Microelectronics products.
-- IBM rfit page

According to this, IBM has made this mark to verify that the product works with the IBM product listed.  In this case, it refers to the ArticiaS chip in that it works with IBM's PPC processors.  Yet, does this mean that IBM is stepping up to promote Mai Logic?  No!  On this PAGE, one can find the text (the fine print) that reads:
Quote
This solution has been validated for compatibility by the business partner and proven to operate with:   Processor: PowerPC 750FX,  Operating System:  Linux
If you are beginning to see a hole, you have been gifted with a bit of insight.  Did you note that this quote said, "validated for compatibility by the business partner?"  Does that sound like MAI validated the product themselves?  Further proof can be found on this page stating that Mai's Partnership level is "Member," from the right hand side of the page: "Partner Level:  Member," but more on the "member" level partnership later.  Then, if that's the case, how did they get this validation?


To determine what Mai Logic had to do to get this validation, I visited IBM's Partnership Registration page.  The very first sentence on the page reads as follows: "Joining PartnerWorld for Developers is easy, and there is no charge!"  Free?  Would IBM provide a free certification to another chip manufacturer?  Ah!  This isn't a certification, it's a validation; we must be careful not to confuse the two!  However, we now know that Mai Logic didn't pay one penny, shilling, yen, or peso for this supposed validation!

Furthering our research, we will check the Membership page.  According to this page, there are several levels of membership, including a free level ("Member" as seen above) requiring only current contact information for IBM to display on it's pages.  The lowest level, membership, requires very little of the hopeful company.  In fact, they only need current information and a valid email address!  This is earning validation?

Finally, I present you, the reader, with this Press Release from IBM about their "Ready for IBM technology" system.  According to this document, prospective clients validate their own product!
Quote
As part of the new initiative, third-party companies that validate and test their software, design solutions or hardware to work with IBM semiconductor products can use in their marketing efforts a new logo from IBM that says "Ready for IBM Technology."
 In the end, is that all that really happened?  Did Mai Logic just fill out a web-form....?

This validation is by no means a certification; instead, it's simply a tool IBM lends out to help other developers sell IBM products.  Mai didn't EARN a thing through this validation!  Instead, a Mai Logic representative filled out paperwork via an SSL interface from IBM's web-site!  What does this validation mean?  It means that MAI[/i] claims that their Articia-S chip works with an IBM 750 series (PPC) microprocessor!  That is all this SELF-verification means, and has been grossly mis-used by MAI in their marketing efforts.  Or, could the answer be even more simple?

Since we have shown what a "membership" level partnership is for IBM's "Ready for IBM technology" system and we know that "membership" is the level of association that Mai Logic has with IBM, we once again turn our attention to Mai's Press Release.  In the second paragraph, they quote Lisa Su, of IBM, doting on and on about how MAI's product passed all kinds of compatability tests at IBM microelectronics lab!  Now, one must ask, "Is Mai Logic lying about this?"  I doubt that, as Lisa Su is a fairly well known personality for making this sort of statement.  If MAI's products had been rigorously tested by IBM, then they certainly would NOT be at the membership level!  Would they?

If their level of association was about to increase, then the press-release would have been with-held for a more impressive press-release.  Since their quote is not referenced to any IBM page, I have to question the specifics of this quote, as it is what would be considered a "stock" statement.  No, there has to be something more.. Something that has an underlying meaning in all of this, Mai would lie would they?

You would think that all of these little emblems that a company floats around on their packages, web-pages, and advertisements would mean something.  However, in this instance, we see that this MAI LOGIC's validation means less than the "proof of purchase" text found on a cereal box so far.  Since it has been shown how Mai Logic obtained the right to display an IBM logo,  one can't help but to wonder if there is any "Truth in Advertising" left anymore....  However, as I said, there has got to be more to this story!

Accusations of this magnitude are usually unsettling to the community that we serve; however, Mai is by no means out of the normal with this sort of activity.  Thus, we addressed Wasabi, another company that had went through IBM's validation process for their NetBSD implimentation.  We were delighted that they were both open and frank about the matter, and will share with you their thoughts,

Quote
To qualify for Ready for IBM status, companies need to prove that their technology is validated.  This validation generally occurs as part of a side transaction between IBM and third-party vender, e.g., a contract might exist whereby payment for a BSP is subject to validation and performance testing.  Thus, (without speaking for IBM) while IBM may or may not have a lab set up specifically for validation purposes, they are generally cognizant of the technology's validation status.

Thus, in conclusion, Mai's claim that their products work with IBM products is true, the statements they make in their press release is more of spin, and they have made a big todo about something that may have just been a requirement for them to supply some of their chips to IBM.  All in all, they took a normal days activity in the office and tried to turn it into a public "feel good" circus.

The bottom line:  Their stuff is "acceptable" for some purpose at IBM, they completed paperwork, and they made a grand statement.  In other words, the press-release isn't worth reading--it's only value would be to another large company, and they would do much more research than what has gone into this article!  

This has shaped up to be nothing more than the work of some spin-doctors on nothing of real imporance!

( Many thanks to all who've helped me research and put this article together--Targhan)
Regards,
Targhan
 

Offline HyperionMP

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2003, 11:49:33 PM »
Very nice "research " there but I know for a fact that within the next few months, you will be corrected in a major way.

That's the good thing of having access to inside information not available to the public.

I have seen the future of PPC and I like :).
 

Offline Loki1

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2003, 11:58:44 PM »
Whats the big deal???

Every Tom, Dick & Harry advertises that their PC hardware is "Designed for Microsoft Windows XX"
incuding the eMachine that I am typing this message on.

Just another attempt to bash MAI/A1.

Loki
Amiga - Resistance was Futile! :-(
 

Offline Kay

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2003, 12:03:41 AM »
Hi Ben! You like teasing people, don't you? :-) I saw you hinting that there would be more OS4 news soon over at ANN. How long are you going to let us wait?

Anyway, always nice to see you posting here. Keep up the great work, it is appreciated. :-)

Kay
 

Offline redrumloa

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Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2003, 12:03:52 AM »
Quote
Just another attempt to bash MAI/A1.


This is called real old fashioned journalism. When is the last time you contributed something? It's easy to bash, but hard to be productive.

@Targhan

Interesting article, best I've read in a while.

@Ben

You keep telling us this for ~1 year now but we havn't seen it yet:-) I hope you are right!
Someone has to state the obvious and that someone is me!
 

Offline downix

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2003, 12:27:12 AM »
Quote
This is called real old fashioned journalism. When is the last time you contributed something? It's easy to bash, but hard to be productive.


I will bring up something here as well.  IBM cares entirely about the level of compatability with it's chips, that is the 750 series of PowerPC.  If Mai is prooven to have a shortcoming with the 74xx series from Motorola, what does this mean to IBM?

Flat out, nothing.  Motorola and IBM are competitors in the marketplace, and if a northbridge runs fine on an IBM chip and doesn't run well on a Motorola, IBM just sits back and laughs.

The claims by Mr. Buck were focused on 1 chip family and 1 chip family alone, Motorola's 74xx series, also called the "G4".  Even if Mai was awarded the "best to run with IBM Processors" medal of honor, we're talking two different processor families.  Where one family can flounder on a northbridge, another can soar.

Maybe this is what Bill was referring to all along?
Try blazedmongers new Free Universal Computer kit, available with the GUI toolkit Your Own Universe, the popular IT edition, Extremely Reliable System for embedded work, Enhanced Database development and Wide Area Development system for telecommuting.
 

Offline zacman

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2003, 12:33:20 AM »
>I have seen the future of PPC and I like :

You mean the same way you saw the future of gfx
chips when you spoke about Parhelia?

PS: It seems you saw the "future" quite late
compared to other ibm partners.
 

Offline Madgun68

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2003, 12:52:00 AM »
"Maybe this is what Bill was referring to all along?"

MAYBE? Consumers shouldn't have to guess or search for insight in to the statements companies release.
......
 

Offline System

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2003, 12:54:36 AM »
IMO running this as a "news" story is pathetic (I would have expected such a posting on ANN though). Well if the "community" can sink deeper, then why shouldn't we, seems to be the reasoning....
 

Offline Madgun68

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2003, 12:55:27 AM »
Quote
You mean the same way you saw the future of gfx
chips when you spoke about Parhelia?

PS: It seems you saw the "future" quite late
compared to other ibm partners.


Don't forget to wash all that mud off your hands when you're done.
......
 

Offline Rodney

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2003, 12:57:44 AM »
To me, it seemed that all the article was trying to do was slag off MAI and partners and make them look bad. The thing is, it is only validation, it said that in the annoucement. To me that says just exactly what your conclusion was. I dont see any missleading here, unless you at first interprtured the article incorrectly.

So as i agree with you conclusion (i though it was obvious) i dont agree with you saying that MAI as missleading. This is industry standard practice. Welcome to the big world of business....

That fact is, MAI are confident that theyire hardware is IBM compatible, so why not tell a few people about it? Its called marketing! :)

Anyway, i though the author did a fantastic job on research, its not too often you see articles on Amiga.org or any Amiga site that has obviously had that much effort put into it.

Good Job Targhan, i hope to see many more articles by you.
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Offline Paul_Gadd

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2003, 01:00:06 AM »
This is not news.
 

Offline Madgun68

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2003, 01:01:14 AM »
I guess I'm not the only one who wondered what the point to the article was, other than bringing out something that should be obvious to everyone living on this planet: PR statements are meant to put a positive light on a company or their products.

It might have proved to be a little more insightful had someone bothered to take the time to ask IBM themselves about their own program rather than contacting a software company (when the article is talking about what the program means to a HARDWARE developer.)
......
 

Offline redrumloa

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Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2003, 01:03:15 AM »
@MikeB & Paul_Gadd

For shame :-x
Someone has to state the obvious and that someone is me!
 

Offline Bodie

Re: Mai Excited about Validation!
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2003, 01:03:41 AM »
Quote
Paull_Gadd wrote:

This is not news.


I'm in total agreement with Paul on this.