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VARBusiness: IBM To Partners: The Linux Team Has Arrived

Jun 13, 2000, 13:14 (0 Talkback[s])

"This is an area that we have put additional focus to go after the enormous e-business opportunity," says IBM's channel chief Buell Duncan.The new offerings and programs are "the reason you can say this is no longer about just cheerleading--that this is now ready for prime time," he says."

"Duncan, speaking about IBM's team of business partners, which includes Web integrators such as US Interactive and Luminant Worldwide, said a full one-third of IBM's revenue currently comes through its business partners, making it vital for Big Blue to help integrators embrace Linux for e-business solutions. As part of the move, IBM will expand its e-business certification initiative to include Linux products. The new curriculum will start in July via satellite, classroom instruction and Web training."

"It's essential we provide education to help partners sell Linux solutions," says Duncan, noting that the goal is to train roughly 5,000 partners in Linux solutions by the end of the year. The program is currently training approximately 35 a week. "We have expanded the reach and coverage and definition of what a business partner is," says Duncan. "We have recruited 1,000 Web integrators during the past 12 months alone, and we work with more than 600 ISPs and SPs that are becoming the channel of the future. Even though those partners don't resell products, their influence on what customers buy is enormous."

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