IBM Clarifies WebSphere Vision

SAN DIEGO (01/24/2000) - In what IBM Corp. officials called the "first instance of proof" of the company's new WebSphere strategy, Big Blue today announced WebSphere Commerce Suite 4.1, an integration of the company's WebSphere Application Server and the its Net.Commerce electronic-commerce server.

The move, made here at the IBM's PartnerWorld Conference, is similar to the Lotus Domino integration plans announced at last week's Lotusphere conference.

Both moves are indicative of a strategy that will see Big Blue utilize the WebSphere Application Server as a foundation for providing broader solutions, said Ed Kilroy, general manager of electronic-commerce solutions at IBM.

Specifically, WebSphere Commerce Suite 4.1 is targeted at providing the infrastructure for building what Kilroy called "second-generation Internet Sites," which IBM is defining as sites that are going beyond simply providing a Web facing for order processing to include such features as integrated supply-chain management.

One company that is already using the Commerce Suite for building such sites is USWeb/CKS, which, according to Bob Wise, executive vice president at USWeb/CKS, in San Francisco, has found the platform a significant step in helping it develop a more sophisticated Web presence for its customers.

"This idea of a common e-business platform we can deploy using WebSphere as the base really makes a lot of sense for us," Wise said.

One of the most beneficial features in WebSphere Commerce Suite 4.1 for USWeb/CKS has been the integration of IBM's Hot Media, which provides such features as 360-degree views and zooming capabilities for a more interactive product viewing experience.

The suite also integrates WebSphere Commerce Studio development and design tools and will leverage IBM's MQSeries for messaging capabilities such as scheduled orders or automatic re-ordering notification.

WebSphere Commerce Suite 4.1 Start Edition (formerly Net.Commerce Start) will be available Feb. 1 on Windows NT with a list price of US$9,500. Pro Edition (formerly Net.Commerce Pro) will be available Feb. 28 on NT, AIX, and Solaris with a list price of $38,000 per processor.

IBM Corp., in Armonk, New York, is at