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Official name change for AS/400 expected within weeks

IBM is expected to announce in early October that it will officially change the name of the AS/400, according to a report from Insider Weekly. As part of its server rebranding strategy, sources confirm that the AS/400 will be marketed under the name eserver iSeries 400.

As first reported by, Insider Weekly (subscription required) on Monday, the rest of Big Blue's server line will also be identified as part of the "eserver" line of products. The S/390 will become the eserver zSeries 900, the RS/6000 will become the eserver pSeries 600 and the Netfinity will become the eserver xSeries with a number for each model.

IBM could not be reached for comment.

Such a move is not likely to ingratiate IBM with most AS/400 users who say the box needs more marketing muscle, not a new name. A Search400 poll taken last month found that 88% of the 858 respondents were critical of a name change. At the time of the survey, there were rumors that the AS/400 would carry the I500 moniker.

IBM has launched a major multi-million ad campaign to market their line of servers, although analysts and users have given the ads, which have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and a variety of industry specific Web sites, lukewarm ratings. Analysts have said that while consolidation of IBM's server brand is a sound idea, they see little value in specific name changes for each of the server lines

However, observers have long seen overlap in IBM's individual server lines. The new high-end AS/400 model 840 with 24 microprocessors, for example, outperforms some of the S/390 family. The RS/6000 and AS/400 are both made in Rochester and share parts which has led to production delays for either machine.

An official announcement from IBM is expected Oct. 3.

Would you like to comment about this story? Send an e-mail to Ed Hurley, assistant news editor

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