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IBM Offers Payment Deferrals, Low-rate Financing

IBM Corp. , which has been outsourcing some operations or shedding units outright to cut costs, offered to help enterprise customers do the same Friday.

In a time when wallets are lighter for many people and businesses, the Armonk, N.Y. firm has set up a 90-day payment plan for certain IBM services, courtesy of IBM's financing unit. The firm also announced a "low rate financing" offer (as low as 4.6 percent) on most hardware products sold to qualified customers from January 1 through March 31, 2002.

Specifically, those who qualify for low-rate financing include those customers in the U.S., Canada and selected Latin American countries which finance most IBM eServer servers, personal and printing systems, storage networking and store systems shipped between January 1 and March 31 and installed by March 31, 2002.

Moreover, customers who choose IBM Global Services offerings for Business Integration Services (BIS) and Integrated Technology Services (ITS) may be eligible for a 90-day deferral of payments if the orders are billed in the first quarter of 2002. Until March 31, 2002, when customers finance these services and maintenance, they can defer payments for 90 days.

The two offers are valid through March 31, 2002 and apply to customers with transactions on eligible products between $50,000 and $1 million.

Buying high-tech products and services from some firms these days is starting to sound a lot like purchase plans for houses and cars, it seems, as rival tech firms like Dell and Gateway have also offered financing plans. In October, Dell introduced a zero-percent leasing payment option for small businesses in the U.S. that desire to obtain new notebooks, desktops or servers. Gateway is currently offering zero percent leasing over 24 months.