IBM has stepped up its campaign to entice engineers to design next-generation web applications for its WebSphere platform with a target of five million developers by the end of the year.
The latest initiatives follow last month's pledge by Big Blue to spend $1bn promoting WebSphere in addition to the $1bn it has already invested. The company's announcement comes the same week as Microsoft is wooing users with its .Net web development strategy at its developers show in Florida.
The enticements being offered by IBM include trial code, technical support, user group meetings, education and certification.
IBM is targeting Cics and Cobol developers and those with Lotus Domino experience, but it also hopes to win over engineers with Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and BEA skills.
Big Blue also announced a number of companies backing its initiative. Software company Walker Interactive Systems said it will use WebSphere in its next generation of ebusiness solutions systems, while developer BackWeb Technologies said it will link its push technology with IBM's development platform.
Valerie Olague, IBM's director of WebSphere software platform marketing, said: "This programme is all about getting developers whatever they need to build powerful ebusiness applications on top of the WebSphere software platform. Clearly, the success of WebSphere will be determined by the strength of the developer community IBM builds around it."
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