One provision should be considered when discussing competitors, is what you are saying the truth? Is your product really better in everyway, or are there places where your competition does a better job. If you are going to be transparent and honest with your audience through blogging, remember that credibility comes from revealing all the facts, and trust in part comes from willing to reveal all. It is one thing to talk about your own products, but if you do discuss your competitors you will have to be careful in how you describe them, otherwise you might lose credibility and trust.
Eric Kintz wrote a post about the competitive discussion between HP, Dell and IBM that lays out the sequence of events from when HP announced a new way to cut down on datacenter energy costs, which was reported by Dan Farber from ZDnet. James Gargan from IBM sent Dan an email describing IBM's energy efficient datacenter solutions, and John Pflueger from Dell wrote a post describing Dell's solution.
Looking back at the original ZDNet.com post I was interested to read that HP plans, "Within the next six months, we will have a rolling thunder of success stories," Perez promised. He said that HP plans to go after large customers with tens or hundreds of datacenters next year, and toward 2009 will target the thousands of customers with one or two datacenters. HP is also banking that many datacenter are nearing end of life, and in combination with the build out of new, greenfield data centers the market opportunity is huge."
This indicates that HP expects that its new cooling solution will have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the customers who use the HP data center cooling solution.
It was interesting to read about IBM's fast reaction, but also Dell's. Dan Farber wrote another article about IBM, but Dell chose to use its own blog to get out its own perspective on cooling solutions. The IBM note to Dan Farber backfired I thought especially as there did not appear to be any follow up from Dan on his second IBM post.
Dell's blog post made a lot of sense, especially in light of the reaction from Dan Farber. Yet I note that two customers asked questions on the Dell post but these have not been answered yet. And Lionel Menchaca's response to Eric was great; he got to put Dell's message on a HP blog post. Though as a reader of all these posts, I still don't know which company has the best solution. However, Dan Farber's critique of IBM did not put them in a good light.
My suggestion to all vendors is that if HP really does have the best solution out there partner with the company so your clients can use your servers and HP’s data center solution. After all the solution was not about servers but how you manage the distribution of cooling within a datacenter.
Should corporate bloggers discuss their competitors? I think yes if the occasion calls for it, if you want to look at a great example of a corporate blogger who regularly discussed his competition, my favorite is Randy Baseler, an executive with Boeing. He has two topics, good news about Boeing and comparing the competitiveness of Boeing products to Airbus.