IBM to Acquire Whistle Communications

New IBM Solution Will Make e-Business Easy and Affordable for Small Companies

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FOSTER CITY, CA - 09 Jun 1999: -- IBM today announced that it has agreed to acquire Whistle Communications, Inc., dramatically accelerating IBM's focus on e-business for small companies. Through this acquisition, IBM will leverage Whistle's expertise and offerings to enable small companies to easily set up comprehensive Web capabilities and provide Internet access and e-mail services to multiple employees, all through a single Internet connection.

Whistle, based in Foster City, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM. Financial terms were not disclosed.

IBM will offer a complete e-business solution for companies with less than 100 employees, combining Whistle's industry-leading "thin server" product with a range of IBM applications, services and financing options. For example, for a low monthly fee, small companies will be able to transition themselves into e-businesses, interacting and transacting with customers through a secure web site, and providing Internet and e-mail services to their employees.

"The small business segment is growing more quickly than any other segment of the information technology industry," said Peter Rowley, general manager of Global Small Business at IBM. "This acquisition will dramatically improve the ability of small companies to easily and inexpensively exploit the Internet"

The new IBM solution will be available to small businesses in all industries around the world. A small mortgage broker, for example, will be able to advertise mortgage rates on the Web, accept online applications, and communicate with customers via e-mail, all in a simple and affordable manner. An employment agency will be able to advertise jobs and receive resumes online, market themselves to prospective employer customers via e-mail, and receive their fees from employers through a secure extranet.

This solution will be easy to install and maintain, requiring no significant alteration to existing IT or telecommunications systems. It can be managed remotely using a Web browser and is fully operational with just a single Internet connection, a key benefit for small companies. Whistle is the world's leading "thin-server" computing company for small businesses. Whistle's InterJet "thin server" provides shared access to the Internet, internal and external e-mail, and Web site creation tools.

"Over the last 2 years, small companies have rapidly embraced the InterJet as a simple and affordable way to take advantage of the power of the Web," said John Hamm, Whistle President and CEO. "This new relationship with IBM will enable us to leverage the true e-business potential of the InterJet with IBM's breadth of offerings and capabilities."

The small and medium business segment represents about half of all information technology spending worldwide. This segment is growing at about 15% a year, with web adoption expected to double by the year 2001. In addition, the market for electronic services is growing at 22 percent per year and is expected to reach $44 billion in 2002.

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