IBM IS GETTING SERIOUS about protecting what's left of its mainframe franchise. On May 7, Big Blue was set to unveil a new fleet of mainframes that have twice the horsepower of existing models. IBM execs hope that will better match rival Hitachi Data Systems, which has been snatching customers because it has more powerful machines. IBM is also addressing another problem area: software that customers feel is overpriced. IBM is cutting prices 10% for some software it now offers on a pay-for-what-you-use basis. The company says that it plans to price more of its mainframe packs that way.

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