Tuesday, August 19, 1997, page 11 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------- IBM Computers to Use 'Windows' ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Compiled by Our Staff From Dispatches AFX, AP, Reuters ---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW YORK - International Business Machines Corp. said Monday it would give its powerful business computers the ability to run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT software in an effort to regain market share from competing machines that run the popular operating system. IBM said it was also bolstering the performance of the AS/400 computers, introducing new models designed to help companies conduct business with customers over the Internet. IBM's AS/400 machines, its midrange line of business computers, currently use the company's proprietary operating system to run networks of desktop machines. But sales of the machines have dropped recently and company executives have said that is because of rising demand for computers that run Windows NT. IBM plans to sell equipment early next year that enables users to upgrade existing AS/400 and machines so the computers can run Windows NT applications as well as software made for the IBM operating system. ''We really think there's tremendous growth opportunity for the AS/400,'' said Bill Zeitler, head of IBM's AS/400 division. ''Making it interoperative with Windows NT is just one way to do it.'' The new AS/400e models IBM introduced Monday have nearly five times more processing power, and will cost from $8,000 to $1.2 million IBM hopes the new line will spark new life into its hardware business, which has endured a sluggish revenue performance this year as the company works through product transitions in several of its high-end lines. At the same time, IBM hopes to capture a lucrative slice of the market in helping companies capitalize on the changing nature of conducting electronic business. As with earlier models, the new servers are intended to run virtually out-of-the-box, with operating system and other software loaded before delivery. IBM has enhanced the offering by loading non-IBM business applications as specified by the customer. The success of the model, a roughly $5 billion business, is important for IBM, which only recently saw its traditional hardware business cease to provide more than half its total annual revenues. Now, much of the company's growth is coming from its booming, albeit smaller services business. The turnaround for AS/400 could come soon, Mr. Zeitler said, with full production of the line expected within two weeks and strong customer demand already surfacing. ''I think people, maybe more in the U.S. than in other places, had been waiting for this product,'' he said. ''I expect there's a fair amount of demand out there ready for us - in fact I'm sure there is.''

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