back to article RM revenue declines in face of UK.gov slash fest

School tech provider RM is still struggling with a "subdued" market, following the UK government's recent allocation of education funds. The company said in a pre-close update this morning that revenue in the first half of its fiscal year, which ends on 31 March 2011, would be down on 2010's H1 figures. Terry Sweeney, RM's boss …

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RM

I have a similar story over the last 10 years - having worked for several schools from primary through to secondary/sixthform. In the end, I specialised in moving schools AWAY from RM and was very successful at it but eventually tired of having to deal with RM incompetence - such as saying that a certain wireless-connected laptop would "DEFINITELY" work with their network, before overhearing them whisper "but we don't have working drivers for that, they just crash the system" (because of their AWFUL packaging / rebuild system on CC3 networks).

One machine arrived, from new, without a motherboard jumper (not even rolling about in the case or anything - just completely missing) that set the processor speed to an invalid value and it refused to do anything except POST-beep. Not the sort of thing you can miss with QA testing. And their custom BIOS defaults to not warning on over-temperature or failed fans.

Three others were sent back to RM several times for repair (by the school, not by me) over six months, each time coming back with the same fault - "CMOS Battery Failed" displaying on startup and not continuing through the POST. 50p each and a new CMOS battery later, there were three fully-working machines (which admittedly worked for several years) and one very happy IT Technician who was given a job on the spot (I was there on a one-day visit to see if I could help solve their RM-related IT problems, ended up working there for 4-5 years).

And I saw *dozens* of machines die the "Capacitor Death" because of the cheap-crap motherboards they use. First the ports start to go, one at a time (usually USB and then network), before the machine eventually dies. Their solution? They install PCI USB and Network cards in them when it happens to eek out another 6 months of use.

I have no end of horror stories from RM, who basically HATE independent technicians who can call their bluff on everything they do, and moved several schools off them over the years. Now I work in a private school, partly because in the interview they said they would never touch anything RM with a bargepole.

Don't even get me started on their application software...

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RM Machines

ah, the 380z ... Have RM updated anything since then?

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FAIL

Research Machines 380Z

"Consequently we are aligning our cost base to reflect the new conditions and to protect Group profitability"

Is he volunteering for a pay cut ? If they were innovative (I used a 380Z at school - we used to have to book slots to use it) then perhaps they could go for other market segments,,,

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FAIL

Pay Cut?

I think you know that's highly unlikely.

'aliging our cost base' usually means sackings and more out-sourcing.

Yup, I'll go for the 'Fail' as well

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@AC of 9:29

Bandwagon jumper!!

Early model 280z with COS 2.0. sometime in the mid 70's

Yes COS == Cassette Operating System

came with a duck shoot game that had scarey similarity to AngryBirds

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Anonymous Coward

Dell sales force

I see they are posting in droves today.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Dell sales force #

Nah, HP, Lenovo and Acer are also far better built as well.

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RM, expensive ....

Well I would guess that they are losing a lot of money in the VLE area as well, the piss poor offering that they were busy flogging 3 Years ago has just come up for renewal, most schools won't miss it and will save thousands. The salesman I spoke to when trying to get if fixed,basically said maybe the rubbish they sell was not for us, and we should go else where, but they already had 30 grand for sweet FA.

Or maybe if you want the latest CC4 server, you might be a bit put off by the windows 2003 server they will sell you, not having quite got 2008 working yet.

Robbers selling crap to the mostly non business like staff at schools. I suppose support, which is patchy at best will suffer, though how far further down it can go I'm not really sure.

If you send in a three page report on the problem, they will normally ask what colour database it is (purple I hear it's fastest), just to cover the 4 hour response time.

To be honest they do allow slightly techie people to look after a network, but it is a bit touch and go sometimes.

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WTF?

Bring back Acorn

Are RM still selling crap to schools? Bring back Acorn!

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FAIL

How have RM lasted *this* long?

Sure the 380z was built like a tank.

25 years ago.

So *how* have they kept on in this niche for *so* long?

Why do schools *still* buy them?

Was it Becta anointing them as the *chosen* PC?

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Grenade

other services expensive

I remember seeing how much RM charged schools for network services, HUGE markups on basic ADSL etc.

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