IBM Makes E-Commerce Push



IBM acknowledged Monday a series of moves designed tobolster the company's presence in the market for E-commerce hardware, software, and consulting. For starters, the global computing and services company said that in February it will begin shipping version 4.1 of its WebSphere Commerce Suite (formerly Net.Commerce).

The software, which features modules for customer- relationship management, order and inventory management, visitor registration, and auctions, includes components from Siebel, NetPerceptions, J.D. Edwards, and net.Genesis. IBM will sell two versions of the product: a $38,000 Pro edition, which will be available for NT, AIX, and Solaris, and a $9,000 Start edition, which runs on NT only.

Separately, IBM continued to shake up its struggling server business with an eye toward landing more E-business-related sales. Company executives yesterday told InformationWeek's sister publication Computer Reseller News that IBM is establishing a new Web server unit. As part of the recently established enterprise server group, the Web server unit will push systems based on AIX, Linux, and the forthcoming Monterey. It will be run by former Sequent Computer president John McAdam.

Additionally, IBM said yesterday that it entered into a strategic agreement with SAS Institute Inc. Under the three- year deal, IBM will create a consulting group within its Global Services unit dedicated to SAS solutions, while SAS will work to optimize versions of its CRM and E-business software for IBM's DB2 Universal Database. (See related story: http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20000124S0006)

The moves follow a so-so year for IBM, in which the company saw declining revenue in both its hardware and services businesses. "They're now trying to drive everything toward software and services, where they see the most growth," says Technology Business Research analyst Bill Lesieur. IBM officials were not immediately available for comment.

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