IBM Courts SMB With New Tools

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-04-14 Print this article Print

IBM, gearing up for the next battle for developers, is targeting small and mid-size businesses and their main tool provider, Microsoft Corp.

IBM, gearing up for the next battle for developers, is targeting small and mid-size businesses and their main tool provider, Microsoft Corp.

"We have to win in the midmarket for three reasons: Its the largest market out there, its the fastest-growing market and its where we have to stop Microsoft," said Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM Developer Relations, last week at the Armonk, N.Y., companys DeveloperWorks Live show here.

To that end, IBM announced a series of new technologies, tools, and educational and marketing programs for developers that target SMB (small and midsize businesses) as well as large enterprises. IBM also announced new initiatives to help ISVs develop applications for the midmarket running on IBMs middleware.

IBM is focusing on the $300 billion SMB market by extending its SMB Advantage program and by introducing its ISV Advantage Initiative program.

The ISV program focuses on software vendors that target the SMB market and will carry with it IBMs support as well as IBMs midmarket-focused IBM Express middleware and eServer hardware systems.

IBM announced three partners that have joined the program: Intuit Eclipse Distribution Management Solutions, a Shelton, Conn., division of Intuit Inc.; Daly.commerce Inc., of East Greenwich, R.I.; and Vormittag Associates Inc., of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

To satisfy its growing Linux base and the SMB market, IBM last week introduced its Integrated Platform Express offering, which is a Linux solution aimed primarily at the SMB space, officials said. The Linux-based Integrated Platform Express solution features a bundle including IBMs WebSphere Express and DB2 Express running on an Intel Corp.-based IBM eServer xSeries machine.

Some developers see Linux as an optimum deployment platform but not necessarily a development one. According to Todd Williams, chief technology officer at Genuitec LLC, a Dallas-based Java development company that targets the SMB market, "Its certainly a hot market for deployment. Linux runs all the major infrastructure components very well, so its a natural as a deployment target."

"However, I still dont see a huge rush by developers to use it as a development platform," Williams said. "Theres just not a real need to since you can use the vast tool sets available on Wintel platforms and then simply deploy the final production product on Linux."

Also on the SMB front, IBM previewed Express Runtime to help SMB developers create applications. The company also announced a new AlphaWorks licensing program where SMB developers can acquire emerging technologies from IBM Research for less than $100.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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