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At IBM Rational User Conference: IBM goes to college

[Grapevine, Texas] -- Earlier this summer, Microsoft made a move to buttress the company’s position in the academic world when it announced a set of low-cost Microsoft Express product lines for Visual Studio and SQL Server. This week, at the IBM Rational User Conference 2004, IBM countered this move by announcing its own initiative to help colleges and universities that train students for careers in information technology.

IBM will work with schools as part of the IBM Academic Initiative to assess curricula, develop course materials, and provide information resources via the Scholars Portal and IBM developerWorks. The program also includes free software and discounted hardware. As part of the initiative, IBM clearly hopes to drive further acceptance of the Eclipse universal framework.

The goal is to reach 1,000 schools around the world, said Buell Duncan, general manager, Developer Relations, IBM Software Group. Duncan said the company hopes to reach as many as 250 schools this year.

ADT asked Duncan if there were plans to offer very low-cost software in university bookstores as Microsoft and others have done. “We are evaluating that now. Some others do it quite well. But the heart of this program today is the deployment of resources. We are working now to build course curriculums,” explained Duncan.

This is just one of the scenarios, increasingly common, in which one of the industry’s two software leaders makes a move that is quickly countered by the other. Often, the moves are aimed at winning the hearts and minds of software developers. As in the first days of AT&T’s Unix operating system, the student community is seen as a ready path to those hearts and minds.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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