Not unlike the legendary Beach Boys and Huey Lewis and the News, who entertained IBM's 4000 independent software vendors, resellers and distributors here last week, IBM is ready to continue rocking and rolling with its venerable AS/400 server in the fast-growing application service provider (ASP) market.
IBM is expected to shortly announce a program to entice many of its 8000 independent software vendors to make their applications ASP-capable and induce its extensive reseller network to sell new customers on the advantages of running their software remotely on ASP sites.
Compared with Unix and Windows NT, the AS/400 doesn't hold a measurable share of the ASP market and will have an uphill battle to gain acceptance, said analysts - but that could change because of strong customer loyalty.
Indeed, `[90 per cent] to 95 per cent of AS/400 customers would rather give up their first-born child than give it up,' said Laurie McCabe, an analyst at Summit Strategies.
As new applications become available through ASPs, users will likely adopt them to save time and resources in developing, deploying and managing new software.
Because of the dominant role of Unix and NT in the service provider market, though, McCabe said IBM `has their work cut out for them'. But Drew Flaada, IBM's director of AS/400 product marketing, said: `The AS/400 has an improper reputation as a green-screen system. But that's just not the case.'