Top brokerage house, Merill Lynch & Co’s survey of 50 CIOs reveals that demand for IBM’s Generation 4 CMOS mainframes is stronger than for the G3 systems and suggests mainframe spending will be flattish over the next few years. With uniprocessor mainframe performance of 45 MIPS equal now to the performance of bipolar systems, the G4 seems likely to grab more converts to CMOS, the brokerage says. Just over one-third are able to cluster mainframes through IBM’s Parallel Sysplex. Half of those are in production mode with the majority also sharing data among systems and all are said to be happy with Sysplex performance. About 40% of respondents not enabled expect to have Sysplex in the future. The report says one-third of all mainframe users had seriously looked at plug- compatible CMOS machines from Hitachi or Amdahl. Most were likely to buy IBM equipment. However, 16% of users have Hitachi’s Skyline mixed ECL/CMOS systems and few of those are inclined to go back to IBM. About one third of those surveyed are programming in Java. Based on what it heard from the CIOs, the Wall Street brokerage house doesn’t think Microsoft will be able to co-opt Java and says most users seem to think the network computer will be an interesting niche product but no more. A quarter have NC pilot projects underway. Our guess is that IBM’s view on Java is correct – that Java will happen and users will make it difficult for Microsoft to proprietize Java. We’re bullish regarding Java’s prospects in the embedded market (thermostats, smart cards). It has a nagging worry normal that increased spending on solving year 2000 problems will slow spending on servers. Meantime, IBM and Sun were among vendors with the most momentum in the eyes of users; Digital is losing momentum in the eyes of the CIOs, along with Novell, Netscape and Apple. It finds commitment to Unix is steady, suggesting Unix and Windows NT should co-exist for the next few years.