IBM Plans Win2000 Promotions



IBM's personal systems group in early February will unveil Windows 2000 promotions, including discounted consulting services and upgrades of notebook computers to Microsoft's new operating system.

Microsoft plans to launch Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server on Feb. 17. IBM will start shipping preloaded PCs and notebooks, and Windows 2000-ready servers, to customers and resellers in late January and early February.

IBM's personal systems group, which markets the company's PCs, ThinkPads, and Netfinity servers, plans to resell IBM Global Services' Windows 2000 planning and migration services. Since the hardware group can leverage its own systems-management tools during an implementation, IBM will mark down the per-system upgrade price that it normally charges for services by 10% to 20%, says Steve Welsh, IBM's program director for worldwide services. It's part of IBM's "Blue on Blue" program, designed to encourage customers to pair IBM hardware with vendor-neutral services. "When the customer looks, they'll see one IBM, and won't see a handoff between one organization and another," he says.

IBM will also offer a service that lets ThinkPad users send their systems to an IBM service depot for Windows 2000 upgrades within 48 hours. The vendor plans to discount upgrades on memory-and possibly hard drives-with the service, Welsh says. "We think it will be popular with high-end ThinkPad users who bought their system, say, nine months ago," he says. IBM customers who have purchased a PC or notebook running Windows NT 4 between Sept. 1 and March 31, 2000, will pay only the shipping costs of the CD-ROM for a Windows 2000 upgrade.

In addition, IBM will extend its internal Windows 2000 training program to business IT help desks.

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