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Merrill Lynch & Co’s latest survey of corporate buying habits suggests that more users like buying integrated software from Microsoft Corp than are scared about being locked in to Redmond’s product strategy. Lotus Notes is leading the groupware market; Lotus might not be profitable, but it does drag along four dollars of hardware, software, and services outlays for each dollar of Notes, the survey says. According to responses, Microsoft edged out IBM Corp to take the leading mindshare on electronic commerce – with Netscape, Oracle and Sun behind it – where spending is expected to rise from 5% of budgets today to 15% in three years. Half of the spending will be on services. Strange, because Netscape was telling us only yesterday how it bought General Electric Co’s 50% in their Actra e-commerce joint venture for $56m (CI No 3,285) specifically to attack Microsoft’s weakness in e-commerce. Almost half of the respondents expect to replace copiers with printers, the survey suggests. While Xerox Corp is recognized by respondents for its technology and brand recognition as the company moves into business printers the vast majority see HP winning the war. Despite its recent push in the area, IBM doesn’t seem to figure here. Netscape was the standard browser at 53% of respondents, Microsoft at 45%. About one- quarter of respondents had left Netscape for Microsoft. It appears that only the US Department of Justice can stop Bill’s browser, notes Merrill Lynch.

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CBR Staff Writer

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