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IBM is looking to make its DB2 Everyplace database for handheld devices a little more attractive to Microsoft developers, developers, developers, Java coders and small businesses.

With DB2 Everyplace version 8.1.4, users will find interfaces for Microsoft's .Net Framework and .Net Compact Framework. This is a clear push to get Microsoft coders cranking on mobile applications. Keeping a healthy distance from Redmond, IBM has also bundled its own J9 Java Virtual Machine into the product.

"Java is definitely building very fast momentum in this space," said Jay Pederson, product manager for mobile computing at IBM.

IBM is also including a new plug-in for WebSphere Studio developers to make it easier to write mobile Java applications for the PalmOS and PocketPC platforms.

On the business side of the house, IBM has made some significant changes to its pricing model for the mobile database software.

Small and medium-sized company will ahave more feasible access to the technology. Instead of paying the enterprise price of $15,00 per processor, customers can purchase the DB2 Everyplace Express Edition package for $79 per user and $379 per server - up to two processors.

This is part of a growing list of Express options IBM has rolled out to better compete against Microsoft and Oracle.

IBM expects small retailers and ISVs to pick up the new Express offering.

Despite years of hype, IBM remains bullish about the mobile computing market's prospects. IDC predicts there will be 26.9 million "mobile professionals and mobile data collectors" by 2004.

IBM supports a wide range of operating systems and devices, including PalmOS, Microsoft Windows CE/Pocket PC, Symbian, embedded Linux, QNX Neutrino, Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP and Linux. ®

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