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Gerstner Goes Into Warp Drive


Up Front: SELLING

GERSTNER GOES INTO WARP DRIVE

YOU KNOW IBM IS SERIOUS about pushing its struggling OS/2 Warp software when even CEO Louis Gerstner starts making calls. As part of Big Blue's latest attempt to make inroads against archrival Microsoft Windows, Gerstner is personally coaxing software developers to make their programs compatible with IBM's operating system.

He has plenty of support. In a Mar. 27 memo, he ordered that his top 100 executives each call 10 gf the top software developers worldwide. (Gerstner won't say whom he buttonholed.) And when IBM shareholders received the company's annual report recently, they found an offer good for $30 off when buying OS/2 (street price: $79). IBM is backing it all up with a $50 million promotional blitz for OS/2, mainly television and radio ads.

What's behind the new drive? For one thing, Gerstner is tired of talk that he's about to give up on OS/2, which IBM has spent an estimated $2 billion developing. And with Microsoft's promised upgrade to its popular Windows program hitting snags, IBM sees its best shot at gaining converts to OS/2. $by

Amy CorteseEDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI


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