IBM is looking to make ISPs into business partners to help it sell its services and products to a wider range of customers.
The giant has formed a business unit which will sell hardware, software and services to the ISP market, which it predicts will be worth $37 billion in the US alone by 2003.
As business use of the internet increases, IBM believes ISPs will prove to be a lucrative sales avenue, allowing it to reach markets - such as small and medium-sized businesses - which the company's own sales channels have found hard to reach.
As well as selling them products and services, IBM will also offer ISPs access to its own internet research and e-commerce resources, giving them an advantage over other ISPs.
Starting in May, ISPs that commit to IBM will be able to enroll in the IBM Business Partner Programme, with their level of membership dependent on their level of commitment.
This will allow the ISPs to team up with other IBM business partners.
IBM has a network of more than 45,000 Vars, independent software vendors, systems integrators, application developers and other business partners.
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