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IBM baits iSeries hook with price cuts

Facing skepticism about the future of its iSeries line and hoping to spur sales, Big Blue is offering discounts on its midrange servers and associated software.

IBM is offering discounts of as much as 50 percent on its iSeries servers and software in an effort to drive sales of newer models.

The program, called Green Streak, runs through the end of the year but offers deeper discounts this quarter, IBM said Monday.

The iSeries line, formerly known as AS/400 systems, typically are aimed at midsize companies and packaged with software for specific tasks. The products share hardware with IBM's Unix servers but have software features drawn from IBM's top-end zSeries mainframe line. IBM has continued strong support for the iSeries products, despite skepticism from analysts that Windows and Unix systems from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer would swarm over the smaller iSeries market.

The Green Streak name is a reference to the "green screen" text applications frequently found on iSeries computers.

Discounts for the lower-end i270 servers run from $23,000 to $47,000, while discounts for the more powerful i820 run between $55,000 and $110,000, spokesman Glen Brandow said.

IBM said there are 100,000 iSeries and AS/400 systems eligble for the discount in the United States and 250,000 worldwide.