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IBM Introduces Complete e-business Solution for Small Businesses

Single Connection Delivers Internet Services To Entire Office Starting At $99 Per Month

WHITE PLAINS, NY - 21 Sep 1999: . . . In a continued effort to support the needs of small businesses, IBM today announced IBM Small Business WebConnections*, a subscription-based, comprehensive Internet offering that provides all of the hardware, software and services a company needs to harness the power of the Internet through a single connection, starting at $99 per month**.

An outgrowth of IBM's recent acquisition of Whistle Communications Inc., Small Business WebConnections is enabled by the award-winning Whistle InterJet*** a thin server that sits on a company's local area network. This solution provides services for up to 100 users, such as: selection and registration of their own "dot.com" address, Internet access, and professional e-mail. The new offering is targeted at companies with five to 100 PCs, that have a computer network (or are ready for one), minimal computer expertise on staff, limited technology budget, and plans to expand their Internet usage.

IBM Small Business WebConnections simplifies the process of becoming an e-business by filling the gap between simple dial-up Internet access and traditional high-end server solutions. The offering provides users with access to a complete set of essential Internet services-- without the standard big business investment.

Currently, while over half of small businesses have some access to the Internet, only 6% of those companies have a shared Internet connection****, which means companies pay a set "per employee" fee for Web use--typically ranging upwards of $400 per month for ten employees. IBM Small Business WebConnections enables businesses to connect an entire office to the Internet via a single connection through the Whistle InterJet. In addition, the offering is designed to enable businesses to take advantage of more web applications as their needs change -- without having to worry about their technology infrastructure.

"As these businesses move up the Internet adoption curve, their needs vary greatly, from a small company making early strides onto the Web, to growing e-businesses that want an active web-site and the ability to enact transactions on-line," said Peter Rowley, general manager, Global Small Business at IBM. "IBM Small Business WebConnections removes the complexity of moving through this Internet cycle by delivering the services directly to the customer through a simple monthly subscription."

Service Packages, Availability, and Ordering Information
IBM Small Business WebConnections provides a range of connectivity options (analog, ISDN and DSL) and three levels of service offerings. All levels include business-class e-mail capabilities, Internet access, domain name selection and registration, firewall security, technical support from IBM -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week*****, and the ability to create and host an intranet site.

-- Silver is the entry level which includes the basic service package.

-- The Gold level adds web site hosting, and secure remote network and file access for employees.

-- The Platinum level adds hosting services for an online product catalog and payment processing capabilities.

Additionally, options for installation and Web design services are available.

"For small businesses just getting started -- and looking to automate in the easiest, most cost-effective way -- the IBM/Whistle offering is almost a 'no brainer.' For established SMBs already automated and accustomed to the frustrations of owning and tending their own general-purpose servers, the simplicity brought by the InterJet is a breath of fresh air," said Andy Bochman, Research Director at the Aberdeen Group.

Pricing for this new solution requires payment of a one-time activation fee of $299 and monthly payments over a 12 or 24-month subscription period. IBM Global Financing will provide billing management support for the Whistle subscription services. In addition, the SuccessLeaseTM program for small business equipment financing will be available to subscribers to facilitate acquisition of any other IBM products and services.******Currently, this solution is only available in the U.S. and can be ordered by phone at 1-888-IBM-5800 priority code SB840.

With this solution, IBM also announced two new programs geared to help the channels provide e-business solutions to the small business market. The IBM Small Business WebConnections Lead Program offers a lead referral fee to members who bring a new Small Businesses WebConnections subscription to IBM. Through a referral by IBM to end users, members of the IBM Small Business WebConnections Service Integrator Program are offered billable service opportunities to install the Small Business WebConnections offering and provide additional e-business solutions.

Contact(s) information

Jim Keller
IBM
914-642-6229
jkeller@us.ibm.com

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