IBM will invest up to $65m in its European operations during the next 18 months to reinforce its image as a web integrator.
The expansion is part of IBM's global strategy to glean revenue through contact with internet developers and consultancies such as so-called interactive agencies, systems integrators and web designers.
Big Blue also plans to set up European technology development labs, including a UK-based Linux solutions centre, in the autumn.
Existing IBM research labs in Hersley and Boblingen in Germany will also begin giving web integrators access to wireless software products such as WebSphere Everyplace and MQ Everywhere.
The company will also make investments in sales and technical staff, training, technology, support and joint-marketing schemes before the end of the year.
The scheme will be aimed at European companies as well as US-based corporates that have offices in Europe.
The investment is part of Big Blue's web integrator initiative launched last year to help expand its sales in the rapidly growing small to mid-sized business market. More than 100 companies have signed on to receive marketing and technical support, IBM product certification, and testing for software and hardware, said IBM.
Mark Hanny, vice president of IBM's web integrator initiative, said: "As Europe's traditional brick and mortar companies evolve their businesses for the internet economy, IBM is empowering its web integrators to build mission critical and scalable ebusiness solutions on IBM platforms."
According to researcher IDC, Europe has experienced an explosive growth in ebusiness services. By 2003 the market for ebusiness services will balloon to $25bn, representing an annual growth rate of 55 per cent from 1999.
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