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Subject: [hangout] IBM to sell Linux Biz desktops
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IBM to debut new desktops for businesses
John G. Spooner, Staff Writer, CNET News.com
IBM is thinking differently about desktop PCs.
The company will introduce on Wednesday a new line of desktops for
businesses, called ThinkCentre, following the company's "Think" vision
for PCs that are easier to use and therefore should help companies save
ThinkCentre desktops combine elements of the retiring NetVista desktop
PCs with some new design enhancements and IBM's ThinkVantage
technologies--a special home-brewed software collection designed to
make it easier for businesses to address tasks such as setting up a new
PC, said Rob Herman, program director for ThinkCentre at IBM.
The new desktops are based on Intel chips, including the chipmaker's new
865 chipset, which is expected to make its official debut Wednesday. A
number of PC makers are expected to announce new machines that use the
The ThinkCentre line will initially consist of three models: the
ThinkCentre S50 small-size machine, the A50p multimedia computer and
the M50 that IBM will ship with desktop versions of Red Hat or SuSE
Linux. More models will be added as the year progresses.
The S50, which takes up less space than a traditional desktop, measures
12.2-inches wide by 14.1-inches deep by 3.3-inches high, or about 62
percent smaller than a regular IBM desktop. It still uses standard hard
and optical drives, however, and offers two full-size PCI slots and
three drive bays.
The S50 starts at $729 while the A50p, which includes a choice of
graphics boards, starts at $699. The M50, which offers more
expandability, starts at $979. Later this year, the company will launch
a new low-price ThinkCentre, the A30, selling for less than $500.
The ThinkVantage software suite preinstalled on each machine will
include several applications and an Access IBM button, which connects a
PC operator to diagnostic tools, software updates and online customer
support. Preinstalled software will include an updated version of
ImageUltra, an application that aids in creating a companywide software
package and installing it on a new PC. A new version of Rapid Restore
Ultra software will control data backup or recovery. A number of the
ThinkCentre desktops will also include IBM's Security Subsystem, which
lets computer operators encrypt sensitive data.
IBM is hoping that the combination of the new software and security
tools, as well a more stylish and easier to service chassis, will add
up to give the company an advantage over rivals like Dell Computer and
"That's where we're really spending a good deal of our research and
development dollarsâ€¦to continually enhance the tools and solutions
around the customer pain pointsâ€¦ deployment, migration, uptime and
security," Herman said. "Ultimately the goal we really want to get to
with ThinkVantage technology is to deliver a system that's
self-configuring, self-optimizing, self-healing and self-protective.
Today's technologies are what we're going to build off to reach that
IBM has its work cut out for it. Dell and HP, the top two PC sellers in
the world, outpaced IBM by a considerable margin in the first quarter.
Worldwide, IBM sold 1.9 million units to Dell's 6 million and HP's 5.5
million units during the first quarter, according to IDC. Despite the
difficult economics of selling them, Big Blue has said PCs are an
important part of its portfolio of information technology products.
Analysts praised Big Blue's new approach, but warned it still faces
"IBM is not getting too wild about what it's doing. It wants to make
sure it's delivering some unique value. That comes in the form of the
software mostly," said Roger Kay, analyst with IDC. But Kay said
marketing could be a problem.
"It's not so clear that this product goes with this segment, compared to
Dell, which has a very clear focus. IBM needs a sharper target for the
boxâ€¦why you should buy this product versus that product," Kay said.
Also, "People mistakenly think of IBM as premium-priced, and it's not
Big Blue hopes technology alone may do some of the talking. Aside from
the ThinkCentre's new look and the software, IBM also created a new
tool-less design--meaning a person can easily open the PC and swap
components like a hard drive, without needing a screwdriver.
With the push of a couple buttons to release a latch, the new chassis
opens from the front, like the hood of a car, and stays fixed in
position. Components, such as memory, are visible and accessible, while
a special hard drive cradle lets people remove the drive by pulling on
a color-coded handle.
IBM also beefed up the quality of its keyboards to provide a better feel
and made an optical mouse, normally about a $15 upgrade, a standard
feature on the PCs.
IBM will also offer special models in the ThinkCentre M family that are
created for Red Hat or SuSe Linux, an option created for larger
customers. IBM will deliver these models with Linux preloaded or with
DOS, allowing customers to install Linux on their own. In the past,
customers could request Linux on IBM PCs, but it had to be specially
ordered and Big Blue did not promote the option.
IBM will also launch several new displays, along with its new
ThinkCentre desktops, including a new 17-inch flat panel, the L170p,
priced at $539.
The Microsoft Crackpipe - Everyone uses it, what harm could it be?
At times the discrepency between institutions and technology becomes an
incompatability, and then one or the other must give way.
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