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IBM targets fast-growing market for workstations

International Business Machines Corp. unveiled a line of computerworkstations Thursday that the company says outperform and underprice the competition and should help it snare a major stake in a fast-growing market where it never had success.

"The opportunity is big - it's growing at over 30 percent a year, and it's mostly a new opportunity for IBM," said president Jack D. Kuehler.

The machines, called the RISC System/6000, also mark the first time that the world's largest computer maker has wholeheartedly embraced the Unix computer operating system that is fast becoming the industry standard.

An operating system is software that controls basic computer functions, such as executing commands from the keyboard and opening computer files.

IBM announced four high-performance workstations and five file-servers, which are used to link computers in a network. The machines range in price from about $13,000 to more than $74,000.

Industry analysts say the workstations are impressive for their

performance, pricing and features.

Workstations are desktop or side-of-desk machines that are much more powerful than personal computers. Some even match the power of mainframes. They are used for such processing-intensive tasks as three-dimensional computer modeling of new products.