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IBM rolls out new NT support

IBM unveils a software suite on Windows NT, with hopes of hooking small companies and the resellers who serve them, on IBM's middleware.

    LAS VEGAS--IBM has unveiled a software suite on Windows NT, with hopes of hooking small companies and the resellers who serve them, on IBM's middleware.

    Sold exclusively through resellers, the NT package includes IBM's DB2 database software, Lotus Domino, Lotus Notes, Netscape Navigator, plus fax and modem-sharing software from LANSource. It is designed to compete head-on with Microsoft's Small Business Server.

    "This is the highest-growth part of the market," said IBM director of NT solutions Jonathan Prial. "We offer the richest portfolio of software with a small-business focus on Windows NT and the best platform to deliver applications."

    IBM reseller Jay Ferron of Connecticut Online Web Services said he'll sell IBM's Domino server on Windows NT at $495 simply as a configuration tool that will save him and his customers time and money. The new IBM suite includes Domino-based installation technology that allows resellers to configure networks of clients and servers rapidly.

    Ferron wasn't the only reseller who had to be won over about Big Blue's commitment to the small-business market.

    "It took some convincing," said Richard Brassier, president of applications developer Emerging Technology Solutions, who watched skeptically in March when IBM began announcing NT packages for large and midsized companies. "I was ecstatic when I saw the small business package. I always trusted IBM's support capabilities."

    IBM's Small Business Suite includes Lotus Domino for email and scheduling; its DB2 database; the Lotus Notes client software; fax and modem pooling software from LANSource; and templates that make it easy for customers and resellers to create office directories, online discussions, document management, and other business management tasks.

    For word-processing, spreadsheet, and other office productivity applications, resellers can offer Lotus's Smart Suite Millennium for an additional charge, but the small-business package automates installation of Microsoft's market-leading Office suite too.

    IBM's suite pricing for small companies is capped at 99 users--after that, companies graduate to higher rates, with the Domino server increasing from $495 to $2,499 for firms with 100-plus employees, although the higher price includes some additional applications.

    The second version of the small-business package, due by mid-1999, will ease the migration path as companies grow while allowing them to continue to use the same software.

    Pricing is $495 for the server, plus $99 per client user for up to 100 users. Client licenses for the Lotus office suite start at $149 per user. The small-business offering will be sold exclusively through IBM and Lotus resellers. English language versions will ship late this month, with versions in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish due in early 1999.

    In other IBM software news at Comdex, Big Blue said:

  • A Linux version of its DB2 database is now in beta.

  • Its partner Vision Associates introduced eScholar, a data warehouse and business intelligence application for educational institutions.

  • DB2 Digital Library--which lets marketing, advertising, media, entertainment, government, and health care firms distribute text, images, audio, and video over the Net--will be available by March, bundled on IBM hardware for $89,500.