I´ve wrote on some occasions in the past that the marketing of IBM is really innovative (vicious voices tend to say, it´s their last core competency). But they seem to have a lack of ideas recently. To understand the copycat moniker i should give you some upfront informations: Perhaps you know the Sun Try&Buy program. You can do such a T&B for a multitude of systems. You can get a system for 60 days to test it. You buy it, when it matches your requirements, but you can send it back, when you don´t want to keep it (whatever your reason is). No strings attached. You just have to send it back in a proper condition. Another marketing program was the “Buy a UltraSPARC T1 server, we pay the electric power for the system for the first year”. We have this T&B for years now and the electric power promo is a really old one…. Well IBM Germany announced a new program today: Consolidate at least two servers from another vendor, and you get a p520 for a test for … wait … 60 days. And in a different offering they pay your electricity bill for the new server for ….. surprise, surprise … one year in case of a server consolidation:

Zusätzlich übernimmt IBM im Rahmen eines neuen Energieeffizienzangebots bei einer Serverkonsolidierung auf System p mit POWER-Prozessor ein Jahr lang die Energiekosten für den Betrieb des neuen Servers. Das Angebot ist bis zum 20. Juni 2008 gültig.

But there are some strings. For example you have to write a test report and IBM is allowed to publish it:

Testbericht: Jeder Teilnehmer erklärt sich bereit, innerhalb von vier Wochen nach Ende des Testzeitraums einen selbst erstellten Testbericht an IBM zu liefern. IBM ist berechtigt den Testbericht zu veröffentlichen.

Furthermore there is only one type of system in the programm: Just the p520 is covered by this program. That´s such a cheap copycat …. IBM marketing used to be more innovative in the past …