IBM Unveils New E-Commerce Center

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is inviting e-commerce companies to take a field trip this summer to explore ways to improve their online businesses. The theme park for this new e-commerce adventure: a new 10,500 square-foot IBM Design Center under construction in Poughkeepsie, New York.

IBM calls the new facility a place “where customers can explore the leading edge of e-commerce and develop new approaches to e-business.” In other words, IBM will provide powerful computers and software, engineering and design consultants, and elbow room for computer geeks across the country to develop new online products and services for their customers.

For IBM, it provides a showcase for all of the company’s latest e-commerce products and services, including a new addition to its S/390 server line introduced today. The centerpiece of the new facility — IBM’s new S/390 G6 Server — improves the user’s ability to handle millions of e-commerce transactions. The new server, slated to ship May 28, uses processors running at 637 MHz to increase by 50 percent the capacity of its predecessor, the S/390 G5 server introduced last fall.

The Big Picture

The new facility is a continuation of IBM’s two-year campaign to extend into the world of online business, which the company has dubbed “e-business.” IBM has spent millions of dollars in that time to increase its visibility in the world of online transactions.

CEO and chairman Lou Gerstner continues to broaden IBM’s products and services to put the company in position to compete for new clients entering the Internet business world. “We’ve now completed thousands of e-business engagements. We’ve learned that the biggest issues customers face aren’t about technology. The big decisions are on issues of business strategy and competitive advantage,” Gerstner told investors at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last month. Hence the new playroom in Poughkeepsie for developers.

Price Cuts to Boot

In addition to opening its new e-commerce center, IBM will also lower the price of its e-business products in an attempt to increase market share. The company said effective July 1st it will cut prices by 25 percent on its DB2, CICS, MQSeries and IMS “middleware” products for most customers, and will reduce the price of a license for its OS/390 system by 15 percent.

IBM, arguably one of the kings of e-commerce, is based in Armonk, New York, employing about 291,000 people in offices and research facilities on four continents. It ranks sixth on Fortune 500’s list of companies by revenue.

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