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IBM posts freebie Web server

Taking a page from Microsoft's marketing handbook, IBM is giving away its Web servers to grab market share.

NEW YORK--Taking a page from Microsoft's marketing handbook, IBM is giving away its Web servers to grab market share.

At the Internet and Electronic Commerce Conference here today, the company announced that its IBM Internet Connection Server version 4 for AIX and OS/2 Warp operating systems can now be downloaded from the company's Web sites. Later this month, the two versions will be joined by a Windows NT release of the server, IBM officials said.

In addition to standard hypertext transport protocol (HTTP), server management, and common gateway interface capabilities, the IBM servers include gateways that allow companies to connect two back-end systems--CICS transaction management systems and DB2 databases--to the Web. The features are calculated to appeal to IBM's substantial base of CICS and DB2 users who might be looking to establish corporate intranets.

To go with its free Web server, IBM also announced two Internet services that companies can buy to help them sleep better at night. Through its Emergency Response Service, IBM monitors Internet connections full-time to make sure that hackers don1t break into corporate networks. The service costs $75,000 a year for each Internet connection and $15,000 for additional connections.

IBM is also offering sevices to help bring failed Internet connections or servers back up at any time. The company has not yet announced pricing for this feature.

IBM and Microsoft are hoping to establish their Web servers among corporate and academic users by competing with the freeware servers that dominate the market. Microsoft started giving away its Internet Information Server last month.

The market is dominated by public domain servers available from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, with 28 percent of the market, and the Apache HTTP Server Project, with 27 percent, according to the latest Netcraft Web server survey. Netscape Communications ranked third in the latest survey results, with 17 percent of the market.

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