IBM Updates WebSphere

Adding a variety of enhancements, IBM introduced release 3.5 of WebSphere, it's Internet application server product, at the PC Expo show in New York City today.

WebSphere 3.5 consists of three layers that connect operating systems to Web applications: a foundation layer of the application server and integration middleware called MQ Series; foundation extensions, or software modules, that will let IBM and its partners add capabilities to the server; and "application accelerators" for company personalization and customization of applications.

"In the new release, we have created new products that enhance the user experience, such as voice input support, mobile Internet capability, and rapid application development," said Paraic Sweeney, VP of marketing, business transformation, IBM Software.

LiquidPrice.com, an online retailer for electronic products based in Cupertino, Calif., looked at nine technology companies before deciding on WebSphere. "We choose WebSphere because of its superiority in speed to market, performance, robustness, scalability, flexibility, and service factors," LiquidPrice.com CEO Piyush Gupta says. Gupta says WebSphere substantially cut down on development time: "We don't have the luxury of time in this new economy, and it only took 11 weeks from the first design meeting to the site launch with WebSphere technology."

In addition, IBM said it plans to spend an additional $1 billion on development and marketing of the WebSphere products. "We want to be able to offer the most complete platform to build Web applications," says John Swainson, general manager of application and integration for IBM's software division.

Evan Quinn, VP of application strategy at research firm Hurwitz Group, thinks IBM has created a framework that customers want and can use with software from other vendors. "This version has deeper integration between products, bringing everything together in relative harmony," Quinn says.

The products will be available in late July; pricing will be determined by customer specifications.

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