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IBM has lowered the bar for its Express software license bundles, putting them in reach of medium-sized businesses for the first time.

The company has assembled some software suites and finance options designed specifically for the mid-market - in its book, companies with 100-1,000 employees. The portfolio includes WebSphere Commerce - Express. IBM says companies can "create and manage e-commerce sites in fewer steps than the comparable offering from Microsoft, and at a lower price point".

There's also an new Linux-powered portal called WebSphere Portal Express. This is designed to make it easier for employees to "access, customize and manage, in one place, all the business critical knowledge and content-management tools they need to operate efficiently in a busy office environment".

IBM reckons that medium-sized businesses are underserved when it comes to software. Vendors are targeting either very large businesses or very small businesses, it says.

Is this true? There are thousands upon thousands of ISVs building apps for specialist markets. And enterprise Johnnies such as SAP and Oracle are making great play of their move into the mid-market. And Microsoft's main strength in business apps is among medium-sized businesses.

IBM may be over-egging the pudding in its claims about this sector. But anything that brings down prices should be welcomed. ®

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What constitutes the mid-market?

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