IBM is looking to make Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into business partners, to help it sell its services and products to a wider range of customers, it announced today.
IBM has formed a new business unit which will sell hardware, software, and services to the ISP market, which it believes will be worth $37 billion in the US alone by 2003.
ISPs who commit to IBM will also be able to join its Business Partner program, with the level of membership dependent on the level of commitment, IBM said.
As business use of the Internet increases, IBM believes ISPs will prove to be a lucrative sales and distribution channel, allowing it to reach new markets, such as the SME marketplace, its own sales channels find hard to reach.
As well as selling them products and services IBM will also offer ISPs access to its own Internet research and ecommerce resources, thereby giving them an advantage over other ISPs.
Starting in May, ISPs will be able to enroll in the IBM Business Partner Program for ISPs, which will allow them team with other IBM business partners. IBM has a network of over 45,000 value added resellers, independent software vendors, systems integrators, application developers, and other business partners.
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