They try their hardest to peek inside from the outside to get an idea of the worth of the deal. They assess who has showed up as competitors to determine how to develop their bid strategy.
This is not a plug for a Cable TV show but a description of behavior that I recently experienced managing a project to acquire a Enterprise SAN (Storage Array Network) for one of our clients.
The client has outsourced Enterprise Architecture to IPI and what I describe as "connecting the dots in the most efficient and cost effective manner".
I don't need to mention specific vendors nor products as the behavior was the same across all of the participants. About a week into the project I started to use the term "Storage Wars" with the project team really not thinking of the TV show.
It was a bit overwhelming at first and then I quickly came to realize it is just the nature of their business. If 3 players use these tactics and the 4th does not you know what the unfortunate outcome is going to be.
The majority of the Enterprise application hosting solutions that IPI has deployed for our clients in the last few years have not been customer premised based solutions. I'm mentioning this as the exposure to these tactics are not usually encountered with externally hosted solutions (i.e., Cloud, Colocation, Managed hosting).
Entertaining as it was I was more interested as to what was driving this fierce competitive behavior. One major contributor "Virtualization".
Previous to virtualization people bought physical servers to house applications with onboard storage capacity to run those applications. That onboard storage was traditionally less expensive than a high end SAN. Network storage was used primarily as a shared resource amongst applications.
With virtualization people buy servers to house guest VMs (Virtual Machines). Could be 10 or more applications that are running on their guest VM that are housed on that one physical server. Optimally you want to be able to virtualize your storage pool as well so there is not a physical assignment of storage to a given VM. This is accomplished with the capabilities of Enterprise SAN solutions.
Another plug for the Cloud, avoid the crossfire of the Storage Wars.