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Network Computing: No Safe Harbor for Microsoft -- IBM has aimed its big guns directly at Microsoft

Dec 06, 2000, 00:18 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Art Wittmann)

"IBM has set its sights on Microsoft's strongest market-the small-to-midsize business. That's bad news for the besieged Microsoft, but it's reasonably good news for businesses with anywhere from 50 to 1,000 users. In the first week of November, both IBM and Dell announced servers for about $1,000. These servers generally come without monitors or keyboards, and are aimed at very small outfits that are likely still using peer-to-peer networks."

"The hope here is to get such outfits to use dedicated servers. And as it happens, these dedicated servers are best configured with Linux. Actually, the servers priced at less than $1,000 don't include an OS, but IBM has stated it will charge the MSRP for an installation of either Linux or Windows 2000. Given the price-conscious nature of this sector, Linux would be the odds-on favorite, since it typically costs no more than a fifth the price of Windows 2000."

"Later that same week, IBM announced a bundle of Linux applications intended for somewhat larger businesses-or perhaps these would be better described as small businesses that are predisposed to using the Internet and groupware applications. The package includes Linux versions of WebSphere, DB2 and Lotus Domino groupware, and is priced at $490 plus $90 per user. Again, this price is shot right across Microsoft's bow. While it seems to me it might be problematic to calculate the actual number of users with respect to WebSphere, the bundle is clearly wonderfully accessible, with a 100-user package coming in at a list price under $10,000. Even adding a relatively beefy server, the price would still be less than $13,000. And that, my friends, is a pretty cheap entry into the wonderful world of the Web-and that's just the way IBM wants it."

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