The first part of the programme, featuring the IBM eServer pSeries, started yesterday and runs until 22 March. It offers configured rack-mounted and entry level Unix servers to businesses in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Austria.
The vendor hopes eBay will deliver new customers for its servers. Talking to MicroScope last week, Martin Beckwith, IBM’s European server channel manager, argued that eBay’s following would include large numbers of people “who would never go to an IBM.com site”.
He admitted it would be a “very small project this time around” but was confident it would take off and become part of IBM’s route to market.
He stressed the vendor was anxious not to cannibalise any of its existing routes to market.
Beckwith added early customers were likely to be confident of using the Web as a buying medium and knowledgeable about the product and would probably include Web integrators and adolescent dot coms.
Business partners would also be given an opportunity to become involved with the sale. Some configurations in the UK auction, for example, include installation services provided by AnIX Computer Systems, a premier business partner.
Although Beckwith said there was no reserve price for the product, it will set a floor price at which the bidding will start.
Big Blue plans to put up two or three configurations every five days. Beckwith described the eBay scheme as the “dawn chorus” for IBM’s plans to open up electronic routes to market.