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IBM to Compete With Salesforce and Google Apps

At an analyst meeting for its System and Technology Group yesterday, IBM unveiled its plans to launch an online marketplace for hosted applications for small and medium sized businesses that would rival Salesforce.com's AppExchange and Google Apps. Frank Gens, a senior vice president of research with analyst firm IDC, initially reported about the event on a company blog on Wednesday afternoon, but the post was pulled later that day. Over the course of two days, Gens and IDC didn't respond to multiple phone calls and emails requesting clarification. A spokesperson for IBM declined to comment because the meeting discussed forward looking statements.

According to Gens' posting, the service will launch in the coming months and initially will host applications from 338 application service providers. "To me, it borrows heavily from the Salesforce.com online software and services ecosystem model, but it also comes at a time when Google is speading its wings as a platform - most obviously for SMBs," Gens noted. He expects IBM to position the hosted service platform as an addition to its on-site systems.

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