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Issue of June 2004 

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IBM has a new way to share and manage business data

IBM outlined a new middleware software-based model that brings together the Web-based computing and traditional PC desktop environments. It says the model offers a single, more flexible and secure way to access, share and manage business applications and data.

IBM's new server-managed client model enables customers to centrally manage, provision and immediately deploy key business applications and data to a range of client devices as needed—from traditional desktops and laptops to a range of more limited devices such as shop-floor terminals, PDAs and cell phones. Using new software component technologies, IBM is combining the low total cost of ownership and immediate deployment qualities of Web applications with the rich functionality of traditional PC software. As a result, customers will no longer have to deal with separate and distinct applications on the Web and their desktop PCs—receiving the benefits of a single model of client computing.

In addition, IBM's software model enables businesses to manage a wide variety of client devices—from desktops and laptops to PDAs, cell phones and embedded systems—and extends access to new and existing applications and data to these devices. As a result, people can use virtually any client device they choose—across a wide range of operating systems—to collaborate with people and access and manage key business information and applications whenever and wherever they need it. This supports the emerging environment in which people want to use several different client devices throughout their work day—with devices in both connected and disconnected modes at any given time—to access key information, use business applications and collaborate with co-workers, customers and business partners.

IBM's open middleware is designed to support clients running Windows, Unix, Linux and operating systems for wireless and embedded devices such as Symbian. Support for MacOS will be available later this year. In addition, IBM's model for managing clients is inclusive as it fully supports a wide range of applications running on "thick" clients—such as desktops running productivity applications—fully protecting customers' investments in these resources.

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