Emulating Microsoft’s recent strategic commitment to the internet [WAMN, 23-Jun-00] , IBM announced yesterday that it is to integrate its various software lines into a single web-focused business.

Big Blue’s strategy involves an estimated $2.3bn investment in development and marketing over the next two years, creating 1,000 or more new jobs in the process. Its integrated software flagship will be branded WebSphere, comprising elements from its existing Lotus and Tivoli business suites.

The result will be a single product, tailored to run complete e-business operations. Features include website design and management, security, voice-activated technology and site personalisation services. Third-party developers will be encouraged to build software for the new suite.

Said Evan Quinn, analyst at The Hurwitz Group: "IBM has looked in the mirror and realised it was a loosely amalgamated bunch of software units. This refocus will produce a more holistic solution for e-business."

Comparing Big Blue’s move to that of Microsoft, Quinn observed: "These are huge changes for the two most influential technology companies in the world. The difference is that IBM's software is here now, but Microsoft's is still a vision."

News source: Financial Times