IBM aims Linux apps at small biz market
IBM Corp. will begin selling a package of small-business software for Linux aimed at taking market share away from Microsoft Corp. in the enterprise-class applications market. Specifically supporting IBM's new sub-$1,000 servers, but suitable for any hardware running Linux, the suite includes the WebSphere application server, the workgroup edition of the DB2 Universal Database, and the Lotus Domino R5 groupware server. Applications developments tools designed to personalize the suite will be delivered free of cost. The IBM Small Business Suite for Linux will be sold, initially by IBM and Red Hat but the company expects to license Caldera Systems Inc., SuSE Inc., and TurboLinux Inc.
Though IBM maintains an enthusiastic stance concerning the swift adoption of Linux among small businesses, meaning companies with less than 100 employees, some analysts remain skeptical about the willingness of these firms to leave the security of the Microsoft brand name. An increasing inventory of Linux programs, including Sun Microsystems's free StarOffice for home and office, may change perceptions about the Linux OS.