IBM Joins MS, Oracle in Software Linking Fray

Following Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.’s release of business-to-business
Web linking software, International Business Machines Corp. entered the fray
today with a suite of products that will allow companies to build software
links over the Internet.

IBM said its new products would give companies — suppliers and buyers — a
way to connect their software applications with other companies. IBM is
enabling all of its infrastructure software (middleware) with support to
enable the development of Web services applications. The support spans IBM’s
entire middleware portfolio, including DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and WebSphere

In a prepared statement, Steve Mills, senior vice president and group
executive, IBM software group, said “Web services are emerging e-business
applications that can connect and interact with one another on the Web more
easily and efficiently, eliminating much of the time-consuming custom coding
currently required in, for example, B2B environments. Businesses also need a
comprehensive portfolio of infrastructure software to drive transactions and

Already, Microsoft Corp. has entered the space with Microsoft.NET, as well
as software maker Oracle Corp.

The products are expected to become available during this quarter.

Each of the companies entering the space intend to take full or partial
payments for software purchases made through third party vendors across its

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal has reported that IBM’s global
services division has agreed with Lucent Technologies to sell and service
Lucent products such as the switches and software used in phone and computer
networks. Previously, IBM had hired itself out to phone companies, and other
network providers, to make Lucent’s telecom gear jive with their computers.

The paper reported that the two companies expect to split $300 million in
revenue generated by the pact over the next two years. Ironically, IBM has
similar services agreements with Lucent rivals including Cisco Systems Inc.,
Alcatel SA and Nortel Networks Corp.

IDC estimates the market for infrastructure software and services will
approach $50 billion by 2005.

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