Some long-time AS/400 software vendors aren't breeding Big Blue exclusively any more.
Instead, to better compete in the tight enterprise resource planning market, they are beginning to develop for Unix and Windows NT server.
"These vendors aren't departing the AS/400, but protecting user investments in the application software as other platforms become an option," said John Logan, an analyst at the Boston-based Aberdeen Group.
For example, JD Edwards & Co next month will ship the latest update to its OneWorld applications suite, which lets users work on Unix, Windows NT or the mainframe, and integrates with the AS/400-only World software suite.
This is a double-edged sword for loyal users of the venerable IBM mid-range platform.
On one hand, it may seem to users that their main application vendors, the backbone of the AS/400's integrated technology selling point, are rushing from the AS/400.
But at the same time, vendors can use the new revenue to better support existing AS/400 shops and integrate the AS/400 with other platforms.
JD Edwards and UK-based JBA International are also moving ahead to develop their own object technology to help transport data between platforms.