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IBM is making a play for customers troubled by the acquisition and spinout machinations of rivals Hewlett-Packard Co and Borland Software.

IBM is today expected to announce it's offering IBM Rational Performance Tester along with 100 virtual tester licenses to organizations that purchase its Rational ClearQuest and Rational Functional Testing products, saving users up to $21,000.

Customers migrating from Borland or Mercury Interactive tools to Rational or Tivoli will get an additional 25 per cent off. The offer lasts until 22 December, 2006.

IBM's offer comes in the wake of HP's acquisition of testing and performance management specialist Mercury and Borland's on-going march towards selling its application tools business to focus on software management and governance.

Mercury is something of a mind-share leader offering superior performance and testing tools. Once relatively easy for IBM to ignore, its ownership by HP - a company whose size, channel and revenue puts it in the same league as IBM - increases the potential competition to Rational and Tivoli from Mercury.

IBM believes HP has a long way to go before integration between HP's OpenView and Mercury's tools is complete, a fact that will create uncertainty for Mercury users. Additionally, IBM believes HP lacks the developer tools part of the equation required for proper software management and governance.

"HP is trying to compete more effectively against Rational and Tivoli - that creates competition for us," IBM Rational vice president of marketing and strategy Scott Hebner told The Register. "[HP] has a long way to go. To me it creates an opportunity to us because it marginalizes a point player [Mercury]."

On Borland, Hebner is particularly keen to convert JBuilder into Rational Software Architect and Rational Developer users as Borland spins out JBuilder.

The sell is harder for IBM, which is trying to pitch Rational as "more than just software development tools" by focusing on processes - a role helped by the fact "Rational plays with Tivoli, Information Management and Lotus." According to Hebner, Rational is not just developer tools, but a strategic part of IBM's application portfolio.

In related news, IBM is providing fresh resources to assist organizations with IT governance. These include technical workshops and the launch of IBM Tivoli Unified Process (ITUP), to prescribe actions for IT Infrastructure Libraries through tools mentors, and a catalogue of extensions to products from IBM and partners that integrate with the Tivoli IT Service Management platform and is called Tivoli Open Process Automation Library (OPAL). ®

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