International Business Machines on Tuesday unveiled a grand plan for computer communications with what it called "the largest communications software announcement in its history."
The new products should help IBM against competitors such as Digital Equipment by strengthening the giant company where it is weakest, in the growing area of computer networking, analysts said.
IBM took another step away from its traditional emphasis on having its big, mainframe computers serve as the control point for all interactions between computers.
Introduced were pieces of software that will make it easier for computers from IBM and other manufacturers to communicate with each other as "peers," or equals.
"IBM is now roughly equal to Digital in peer-to-peer networking," or at least should be by the time all the new products are available late in 1988, said George Colony, president of Forrester Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass.
In one "long overdue" change, IBM computer networks will be easier to change or add to without being shut down, said L. David Passmore, a principal in Network Strategies, a consulting firm in Fairfax, Va.