IBM, Novell bundle WebSphere and Netware

Seeking to broaden its market share in the burgeoning Web-based application server market, IBM was set to announce at Novell's BrainShare conference yesterday that the two companies had agreed to bundle IBM's WebSphere Standard Edition with every copy of Novell NetWare.

As part of the agreement, Novell also has the right to resell WebSphere Advanced Edition, which will be sold primarily to those users who need the Enterprise Java Beans capabilities built into that version. In so doing, Novell users can connect Web applications to existing and other host-based transactions systems.

"I think the deal makes perfect sense for us both. They can capitalise on our application server technology and we can take advantage of the large installed base they have built up," said Paraic Sweeney, vice president of Web server marketing at IBM.

Novell has about 92 million users, according to officials at Novell.

"I think Novell and IBM can strongly agree that the Internet is fast becoming the de facto network for business information flow and electronic commerce," said Chris Stone, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development for Novell. "And technologies like Java and WebSphere and Enterprise Java Beans can create a value net whose focal point is the Web application server."

WebSphere supports IBM's San Francisco application frameworks, a development environment that will allow NetWare users to build off-the-shelf, Java-based applications as well as better re-use to build other more industry-specific applications, according to IBM officials.

Sweeney said the deal with Novell now rounds out IBM's long-range plan of bundling WebSphere with what it believes are the most strategic hardware and software platforms. Previously, the company announced its bundling with Lotus Notes Domino, IBM's Universal Data Base, Microsoft's IIS for Windows NT, OS/400, OS/390, Solaris, and, earlier this month, a version to be bundled with Linux.

"Over the last three months we have said that every company needs some sort of application server functionality, which is why we deliberately named this product [WebSphere] Standard Edition. We want to make it the standard for where people start this class of development," Sweeney said.

Officials from both companies believe this latest deal further cements their relationship, which includes NetWare support across other IBM platforms such as its Netfinity line of PC-based servers and OS/390 mainframe operating system.

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