IBM outlined a revamped channel strategy for its range of NT-based software suites as it predicted that its direct competitor, Microsoft Back Office, will be rendered 'an absolute miserable failure'.
Cathy Daum, director EMEA partner sales for Lotus and IBM, said: 'Until now Microsoft has had no competition in this market so it could do virtually whatever it liked. Because Back Office is licensed per machine, a customer is forced to spend money on software it might not want and will never use.'
Bob Madey, product manager of eNetwork, said: 'Back Office will be an absolute miserable failure.'
The three suites, which incorporate products such as the DB2 Universal Database, MQSeries and Lotus Domino, were launched earlier this month at Technical Interchange 98 and form the backbone of IBM's e-business drive.
Following a deal with Intel, the suites will also hold the LanDesk Management suite, which includes a software distribution function. All the suites will be sold through the channel. The Small Business Suite which goes into beta this week will be sold exclusively by resellers.
IBM said it was hoping the combination of superior fuctionality, ease of integration with legacy systems and competitive pricing will woo additional customers and persuade Back Office users to migrate.
The vendor was also confident that its flexible licensing policy, its centralised support, the introduction of try-before-you-buy options and the promise of increased revenue through development will make the suites a more attractive option for channel partners.
Mike Ballengee, IBM worldwide channel manager for the suites, said the vendor has refocussed its channel strategy so partners are assessed. He said: 'This is a complete channel strategy. Now we need to find the partners who can make this work in practice.'
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