IBM recently revealed that it simply can't afford to drop the OS/2 ball, following industry reports the beleaguered operating system is on its last legs.
Jeff Smith, director of IBM's OS/2 business line management, said IBM's top 2000 worldwide OS/2 customers generate a revenue of "somewhere between $US30 billion and $US40 billion", or about half of the $US80 billion company's total revenue.
Smith explained that IBM's high-end OS/2 customers inject it with a massive revenue stream, through sales of its heavy range of hardware, software and services.
"These are IBM's bread and butter customers," he said.
With such huge revenues at stake, IBM has come out fighting with news of enhancements planned for its OS/2 Warp Server family due in early 1999. It also announced a new beta version of OS/2 Warp Server, code named Aurora, will be available in late 1998, and outlined plans for a new release of its server-managed client operating system, WorkSpace On-Demand, in late 1998.
According to IBM, the OS/2 Warp Server systems management will provide network administrators with a flexible tool allowing the config- uration, monitoring and management of local and remote systems in a heterogeneous environment.
But as Smith reports, IBM's new e-business strategy offers a convenient launch-pad for reinvigorating its loyal OS/2 users. "We knew we had to embrace e-business because we would then be part of the overall IBM initiative," he said.
But when questioned on OS/2's future viability in network computing, Smith replied: "First of all there is no death of OS/2, there is no question of that."
He said its strength is built on a huge worldwide installed base of one million IBM servers and five million clients.
"OS/2 has still got major market share all over the world," he added. "Seventy per cent of the world's data lives on an IBM mainframe."