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October 07, 2009

3000s continue to fly free: but how many?

Pelican At last month's e3000 Community Meet, Speedware's Chris Koppe shared an estimate. The company surveyed its customer base, then called or contacted other sites from lists of known 3000 locations. At most, Koppe said, Speedware believes there are 1,000 HP 3000 customers still running systems.

The size of the known 3000 universe is as tough to track as any other kind of expanding entity. By expanding, I mean accelerating away from HP. Everyone who's remaining on the system is moving away from the vendor in relationship to their 3000 use. These customers have been in free flight, out of formation and out of contact for many years now. HP never knew for sure how many 3000s were running, by its own admission. The vendor's estimates drifter further afield with every year that it relied on resellers, then didn't close the loop on support contract renewals. About the only thing HP can report on these days is the relative silence compared to years ago.

So when we heard today from Dave Wiseman, who helped bring ScreenJet into the 3000 world late in the 1990s, about a few 3000s he encountered in-flight, we wondered: Are a pair of US airports, both using 3000 systems in duty-free shops, on anyone's radar who's tracking the size of the universe?

Wiseman, who's working these days for computer fraud prevention company iovation.com, checked in after he checked out of the duty-free shops in the airports.

I was in Minneapolis Airport on Sunday and went to the duty free. When I checked out they were using an HP 3000 green screen system! Apparently it’s still in use in Minneapolis and [Seattle's] Sea-Tac.

In this era of transition, the size of the known universe becomes important for both owners and vendors in the community. The former, they want to know how many people are left manning the oars. Too few (by whatever measure) could mean a loss of knowledge and hardware resources that could jeopardize the system's reliability.

For the vendors, the numbers are more crucial. They help determine how much resource to supply to the market. If the amount of water in the pond can't float the development and support boats, a vendor has to launch a smaller vessel, or put their 3000 business into dry dock. So people ask about this number, just as they have ever since the NewsWire first went into print 14 years ago.

The 1,000 Customers number is the lowest we've heard shared with the 3000 community, but every universe needs to have boundaries both low and high. We'd love to hear from a vendor or supplier who knew about the 3000s in those airports' Duty Free shops. The fact that these systems are tallying sales sparks two thoughts. First, how many more might be out of the main flight path? Second, we wonder who might compile a continuing list of customers -- other than ours. Let us hear from you about any free flying systems you encounter.

10:56 AM in Homesteading, Newsmakers | Permalink

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