IBM announced that it will withdraw its operating system OS/2 officially from sale on December 23 this year and will offer support only through 2006.
IBM introduced OS/2 as competitor to Windows in 1987 with little success in the consumer world. Over the years, OS/2 turned out to be adopted primarily in the corporate world where it is in broad use still today. The last major update to the core of update was released in 1996 as "OS/2 Warp 4.0", according to IBM. However, the company released in 2001 an updated version 4.52 for servers and workstations and has been continuously providing "Merlin Convenience Packs" (MCP) to keep the software up to date.
IBM justifies the withdrawal of OS/2 from the market with fact that there are only 80 licensees with more than 10 licenses left. This says little about the total license amount, since one bank in Europe told Tom’s Hardware Guide that it still runs more than 2000 computers on the OS/2 operating system.
Users who would like to purchase the software beyond Christmas this year, will be able to do so by buying Serenity Systems’ eComStation - a software that is based on a OS/2 license and is currently offered in its second generation. Serenity said that "eComStation will remain available as long as it is a good business." According to a spokesperson, there is currently "no end in sight."
Companies running OS/2 today will be able to purchase OS/2 support from IBM as well. A spokesperson told us that the company will offer support for a fee after 2006. (THG)