The Sun/Netscape Alliance has agreed to port a wide range of Internet infrastructure and ecommerce applications to IBM's RS/6000 Unix based systems.
Last March, Sun Microsystems and America Online (AOL) said they would develop software to enable companies to operate in the online economy. Following AOL's acquisition of Netscape, the work was taken over by a joint venture dubbed the Sun/Netscape Alliance, which markets its products under the iPlanet brand name.
iPlanet's offerings, which include application servers, directory software, Web servers, messaging software, calendaring packages and online selling and bill payment applications, have so far all only been available under Sun's Solaris operating system (OS).
Although some already run under IBM's AIX, with others available on Microsoft's Windows NT and Hewlett-Packard's HP/UX systems, the full portfolio will now be available on the RS/6000 by the middle of this year. It will be marketed by both IBM and the Alliance, but will be sold only by the Alliance.
Mark Tolliver, president and general manager of the Alliance, claimed: "It really is about customer choice, both on the selection of software and the selection of hardware. In that sense, we really do make it possible for people to expand their range of choices and that's a good thing."
And Rod Adkins, IBM's general manager for the RS/6000, said he expected the products to appeal to a broad range of businesses.
"I look at the market in two pieces. There are the traditional acting customers that are adding ebusiness extensions to their business, which this will clearly appeal to," he said.
"And there's another segment of the market, which I call the emerging growth acting customers. These are customers born on the Web. I can also see this set of offerings appealing to those types of customers too," he added.
Under the terms of the deal, the Alliance will provide the resources to port, test and support its applications on the RS/6000. IBM, on the other hand, will supply onsite technical assistance, development resources and hardware and software to the Alliance to help it with its porting work.
IBM and AOL will also both pay towards establishing worldwide competency centres and training for IBM employees and its partners.
The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
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