Briefs: IBM Partners on Mobile E-Commerce

SAN MATEO (06/02/2000) - IBM Corp. has formed a partnership with eight Internet professional services companies as part of its attempt to establish its mobile and middleware software as a platform for delivering mobile e-commerce solutions. The eight Web companies, called the Pervasive Computing Alliance, include Agency.com Inc., Answerthink, Luminant Worldwide Corp., Organic Inc., R/GA, Rare Medium Inc., Razorfish Inc., and US Interactive Inc. Under the agreement, IBM will invest in support programs designed to meet the specific needs of each of the eight partners. For their part, the eight companies will build a percentage of their wireless Web solutions centered around IBM's middleware, such as MQSeries and CICS. IBM also will offer its WebSphere Everyplace Suite server-based software to the eight companies before other customers. The partners will receive software training and will participate in joint marketing and development programs.

IBM prepares ThinkPad rollout

IBM in an announcement this week plans to unveil two newly redesigned ThinkPad models intended for small businesses and students. Weighing in at 6 pounds with a 1.4-inch flat profile and integrated 56K V.90 modem, both the ThinkPad i Series 1200 and 1300 start in price at approximately $1,199, making the base models of the ultrathin laptops the most affordable ThinkPads to date, according to officials at Big Blue. Also as part of the announcement, IBM is offering a free 90-day trial of the company's new Web-based storage service, which will be powered by @Backup, an online storage provider. The trial will include 50MB of online backup storage space, which according to IBM will enable convenient Internet access to customer files anywhere, anytime, and in a secured, protected environment.

Akamai offers content director service

Akamai Technologies Inc. next week will introduce its FirstPoint traffic management service for directing content and Web traffic requests to the most relevant Web server. Aimed at content providers with multiple, distributed Web servers, FirstPoint will proactively determine the best routes for user content requests to reach Web servers as well as monitor the various servers and redirect traffic should a server fail. FirstPoint also works in tandem with Akamai's FreeFlow content delivery service and costs $5,500 per month per Web server.

Compaq to debut Web-targeted servers

Compaq Computer Corp. on Monday will take a swing at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s leadership in the front-end Web server market with the launch of a family of rack-optimized servers. The ProLiant DL360 two-way server and DL580 four-way server offer hot-plug features and thermal designs specifically targeted for e-business environments. The four-way ML570 can also support heavy, back-end data-center workloads, according to Compaq officials.

FCC broadens wireless spectrum auction

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission last week cleared the way for larger companies to get in on an upcoming auction of wireless spectrum. In a reversal of its original position, the FCC decided to waive a requirement to limit its auctions of C and F block personal communications services spectrum to companies holding "entrepreneur" status. That requirement mandates that no company with more than $125 million in total revenue or $500 million in assets during the last two years would be eligible to participate.

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