Lou Gerstner, Web Plumber

IBM's new software may be just what core customers need

With $13 billion in sales, IBM is by far the largest software company in the industry. But that's a dubious distinction considering that three-quarters of that business is in aging software for mainframe computers--a lucrative but slow-growth market. While the software industry as a whole is growing at 12%, Big Blue is turning in an anemic 4%. Meanwhile, highfliers such as Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. saw 1996 sales surge 38% and 25%, respectively.

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