IBM offers $4 billion in credit to motivate customers

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IBM is offering $4 billion in new credit to customers through its partner channel, and has also developed a new mobile application to help them get financing quickly, the company announced Thursday.

The move follows a $1 billion credit allocation IBM announced last yearfor small and medium-size businesses. As a result of that offer, some 6,800 global companies took advantage of financing to buy IBM products and services within a year, instead of an expected 18 months, IBM said in a statement.

IBM's new Global Financing mobile application will be rolled out in the U.S. this month. A worldwide release will start in January, beginning in China.

The application will allow partners to "provide their clients with price proposals and generate credit approvals within minutes using an iPad, iPhone or Android mobile device," on deals valued at up to $500,000, IBM said.

Financing packages will begin as low as zero-percent interest for one year, with no down payment required, according to IBM. Offers will be available through partners in more than 50 countries, it added.

The move seems aimed at getting businesses to continue making IT purchases even as credit markets remain tight and the global economy is on uncertain footing.

IBM itself is well positioned to offer the credit line, having $12.3 billion in cash on hand as of the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Its announcement comes just days after rival hardware and software vendor Hewlett-Packard expanded its own partner financing program.

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