: IBM, Microsoft to Face Off for SMBs"> The real key issue, however, is gaining market share where there is opportunityin the SMB market. "[When you] really get down to brass tacks, this [allows IBM to] compete head-to-head with Microsoft. Theyve been selling SharePoint and it drops right into a Windows environment. It sells itself," said Gene Phifer, research analyst at Gartner Group, in Stamford, Conn. "IBM is really wanting to hit this head on, and [WebSphere Portal Express] will be a viable alternative."At the same time, small shops interested in the IBM solution will have to have some in-house Java expertise. "Dont get me wrongyou dont need to be a Java developer, but the portal is Java based," said Phifer. "IBM isnt obviating the need for Java skills in those SMB shops; theyre just minimizing and delaying it." IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will work with Enterprise Resource Planning software maker and partner J.D. Edwards and company to reach the mid-marketan area that JDE is well versed in. At the same time, IBM is also adding a new WebSphere Portal certification program, an online training system and an expanded curriculum of regional classes to update users on the new offerings.
What IBMs new offering wont do is lure away those companies only interested in other Microsoft solutions.