In the Alliances track at Software 2006, Bruce Richardson of AMR Research coined the term MISO – for the 4 software giants Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Oracle. He then discussed their alliance strategies. Each in different ways in building sizable developer communities, platform strategies (.e.g. SAP with its NetWeaver ecosystem plans) and continue to make a number of acquisitions/investments in their software partners.
What is not clear is whether these software centric alliance strategies are being coordinated with hardware and services strategies (within their own units) and how indeed they fit into alliance strategies and business development plans of HP, EDS, EMC and others - they are likely to be competitive (BTW: Brian Sommer has a nice view of how when he was at Accenture he saw attempts at alliances software vendors proposed to him)
The other area where there is little discussion is around
solution pricing across an alliance. Customers want to see "One Wallet to Squeeze"; vendors prefer to have alliance members propose their own pricing. Or there
are other examples where the “channel master” greedily expects to get 90+% of
the contract value, squeezing other alliance players. Alliances break down in the field
if pricing is not well defined. I told the conference track (Brian and I presented after Bruce) that the industry needs to look at how a Boeing or a Chrysler decide what is a reasonable price for a plane or a car and then let that ripple through their tiered supplier ecosystem. Today, technology pricing across vendor consortia is extremely opportunistic.