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Symbolics maintenance prices

    Date: Wed, 20 Dec 89 16:24:00 -0600
    From: Kenneth Forbus <forbus@cs.uiuc.edu>

	   For workstations other vendors have been willing to offer very
	   reasonable prices, generally less for a year's maintenance per machine
	   than Symbolics wants for a month per machine.

       I believe maintenance on XL400 costs similar to maintenance on a
       comparable Sun (don't forget to include maintenance on the disk).

    I don't know what XL400 costs are.  But I do know that "Replace
    anything necessary to get it up within 24 hours, flying in parts if
    necessary" from IBM for RT's costs $500/year/machine for universities,
    $800/year/machine list.  That includes the CPU, three 310MB drives,
    display, cartridge tape drive, etc.  If the XL400 price for this kind
    of service is that cheap, I will certainly consider buying Symbolics
    machines again.  Or if they go back to being several times faster than
    the competition, as opposed to being slightly to signficantly behind
    in performance.

Well, I just looked at my price list, and XL400 maintenance isn't as
inexpensive as I thought.  The list price is $3300/year, about the same
as 3650 maintenance.  However, it's about 2/3 the cost of 3640
maintenance, and about 1/3 the cost of 3600 maintenance.

When I spoke to my sales rep about Symbolics maintenance prices, his
answer was that their formula for setting maintenance prices is the same
as most other vendors'.  I don't know what the parameters to this
formula are, but the major one is presumably the purchase price of the
machine.  The ratio of the XL400 maintenance to price is about 5% (my
price list is from before the XL400 price cut); if the list price of the
IBM RT is around $16K then they're similar.