Tech Industry

IBM takes on Microsoft over NT

Big Blue will show off new Windows NT-based server software bundles intended to compete with Microsoft's BackOffice.

IBM (IBM) will next week show off new Windows NT-based server software bundles intended to compete with Microsoft's BackOffice.

The company will demonstrate the integrated suites at next week's Lotusphere user meeting in Orlando, Florida, according to a company representative. As previously reported, the suites will include database software, transaction servers, messaging software, and the company's Domino Web-based groupware.

Company executives say the NT push reflects the operating system's growing importance to corporate users. The intense interest from IBM is something of a switch in strategy, given the company's traditional preference for applications designed to run on its own PC, Unix, and mainframe operating systems.

The suites will be offered in three versions, aimed at small businesses through multinational companies. IBM will not sell the suites directly. Instead, they will be offered through systems integrators and resellers as part of a package of software and services.

The strategy is intended to counter Microsoft's BackOffice, quickly becoming Microsoft's most profitable product line.

The suites have not been officially named, and pricing has not been set. But three configurations will be offered: one each for small businesses, medium businesses, and large enterprises.

The small-business version will include Domino server, along with IBM's DB2 database server. The medium and enterprise packages will add communication and backup-recovery software. The enterprise version will also include transaction processing and messaging middleware.

IBM will introduce the suites next month and plans to ship them this spring.

Windows NT versions will be offered first, but IBM plans to make Unix and OS/2 versions of the suites available later in the year.