IBM Sees Strength in ISV Partnerships

AUCKLAND (03/03/2000) - When it comes to e-business IBM Corp. won't be building industry-specific packaged applications on its own.

"We have finally figured out that we are no good at building industry applications," says IBM general manager of global e-business solutions Greg Corban. He says the e-business strategy is to work with key independent software vendors (ISVs) to provide such applications.

IBM Australasian manager e-commerce solutions Barry Feyder points to its partnership with Australia's Streamlink for electronic procurement software as a local example of this new direction. The Streamlink software is built to IBM's industry-standards based application framework, he says.

"We are not building applications in the areas of e-business. Our focus is around the middleware infrastructure," he says. While Feyder could not say whether this applies outside of e-business software, he did say that "this is a general thrust in IBM".

In other activity, IBM is set to ship its first Edge of Network (EON) products in Asia-Pacific in the second quarter this year. The first off the block is an Internet appliance with built-in broadband connectivity which will be sold through ISPs (Internet service providers) and telcos. This will be followed by a Linux-based thin client, a "zero footprint" thin client, and an "all-in-one PC" 75 percent smaller than a typical desktop.

Two other products in the line-up, and expected by mid-year, are a legacy-free PC with a port to plug in a Palm Pilot, and a Web Caching appliance based on the Netfinity 4000R server.

IBM continues its promotion of Linux with a commitment to take the operating system into its high-end systems. No timescale was predicted for this move and it was acknowledged that the company wouldn't want to cut into its AIX customer base.

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