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IBM Exec To Partners: Get Rich With Linux

IBM executives named Linux and the small- and midsize-business market as the two big growth opportunities for Business Partners this year as the company kicked off its annual PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas.

"Last year, we challenged you to do $1 billion in Linux revenue, and you exceeded that by doing $1.12 billion," Donn Atkins, IBM's general manager, Global Business Partners, told some 5,000 attendees at PartnerWorld 2005. "Now we are challenging you to drive $2 billion in Linux revenue in 2005."

Joe Vaught, COO of PCPC, an IBM Business Partner in Houston, said his Linux business, primarily on xSeries blades, was up almost 30 percent last year. "But we are really going to rock and roll this year," Vaught said, adding that he has seen renewed interest in Linux among his petrol chemical customers.

SMB will be a big driver behind much of the new Linux business, according to Atkins. "SMB is a tremendous opportunity for you and for IBM. It's a $360 billion market," he said.

To help drive SMB sales, IBM plans to launch a program called System Seller, which provides a set of readily available, aggressively priced SKUs targeted at small and midsize accounts, Atkins said. The program is similar to what exists in the company's PC and xSeries systems but will now be expanded to include pSeries, blade server, iSeries, Global Services and Global Financing bundles as well, he said.

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