IBM announces financing incentives

IBM is sweetening its financing deals on several lines of high-performance servers and other hardware, software and services to try to boost sales during tight economic times.

In an announcement today, IBM said it is offering qualified customers 90-day payment deferrals and/or interest rates as low as 5.1 percent, depending on what the customer is purchasing.

The financing options are being offered through IBM Global Financing, an arm of IBM, on purchases between US$50,000 and $1 million.

Customers who finance IBM eServer iSeries and pSeries systems through December 31 and install them by January 3 can get both 5.1 percent financing and 90-day payment deferral under the deal. Customers buying other participating IBM products can choose between the lower finance rate or payment deferral options.

An IBM spokeswoman said IBM offers financing incentives every quarter but explained that lower rates and deferrals are not typically combined. The finance rate in the last quarter was 5.3 percent.

Catherine E. Manion, general manager of IBM Global Financing in the U.S., said in a statement that the program is aimed at helping customers while fueling sales for IBM.

"Given tight capital markets and constrained budgets, it is important that companies have an alternate means of funding IT acquisitions that includes a range of attractive choices," Manion said.

The 90-day payment deferral program is also available for the IBM eServer iSeries, pSeries and xSeries systems, PCs, store systems, storage and storage networking systems and printing systems.

The move comes a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut a key short-term interest rate by half a percentage point, to its lowest level since 1962, amid concern that the U.S. economy could weaken further after last month's devastating terrorist attacks.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based market research firm International Data Corp. recently reduced its forecast for worldwide IT spending increases to 7.9 percent from 11 percent, although many IT managers said their plans for major projects remained unchanged.

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