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IBM announces delay for Java business software

Big Blue says it will delay the release of promised Java technology because of changes in customer demand.

    IBM said it will delay the release of promised e-business Java technology because shifting customer demand required Big Blue to change the scope of the project.

    IBM executives at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco said today they have delayed, expanded and renamed the way Big Blue will support a Java technology for e-business called Enterprise Java Beans, or EJBs.

    Before, IBM was going to simply add support for EJBs to its existing "San Francisco Framework"--which used an earlier Java technology--by the end of 1999. Instead, IBM now plans to deliver a new software package called WebSphere Business Components by the end of this year, said Steve Rosenberg, an IBM marketing director.

    The delay was the result of the expansion of the effort and the fact that it took until December 1999 to deliver the final version of EJB, Rosenberg said.

    EJBs are pre-written modules of Java software that can handle tasks such as a Web site shopping cart and be assembled quickly to form more complicated e-commerce software.The San Francisco Framework is an earlier version of software that does what EJBs now accomplish, but only for building accounting and warehouse management software.

    The expanded effort will allow the IBM software to be used by specific industries, IBM said. The first new components will be for banking and insurance companies and later for manufacturing. IBM also is building more general components, such as customer relationship management software, which automates a company's sales, marketing and other customer needs.

    Last June, IBM executives announced plans to ship a new version of San Francisco Framework that would allow customers to migrate their software to the Enterprise Java Beans programming model, a technology that competes with Microsoft's own programming model based on the Windows operating system.

    BEA Systems, Oracle and other software makers, such as Eon Technologies, currently offer EJB components. A Gartner Group study recently found the market for components will grow from $1.4 billion in 1997 to $8 billion in 2002.

    The new EJB components, along with parts of the San Francisco Framework, will ship by the end of the year, Rosenberg said. Early versions of EJB components are available on IBM's developer Web site.

    In related news, IBM today announced the creation of a new section on the Web site focused on components.