IBM Tuesday announced WebSphere Application Server Express, a version of its WebSphere Application Server for companies with between 100 and 1,000 employees.WebSphere Application Server Express will be available on Dec. 13 and is priced at $25 per intranet user or $2,000 per processor for unlimited users, Armonk, N.Y., IBM said in a statement. Additional copies for developer use cost $400, IBM said.Application servers link back-end applications and database servers to front-end applications and Web servers. The software provides access to the applications, while also supporting its own applications that typically consist of JavaBeans. Security and management services are also built into the software.In recent months, IBM has stepped up its efforts to attract small and midsized businesses. Already announced WebSphere Express products include WebSphere Portal Server Express and WebSphere Business Connection Express. The suite of products is much cheaper than the bigger offering for enterprise clients, according to IBM.The WebSphere Express products allow users with minimal technical knowledge to create interactive Web sites where users can share documents, monitor inventory in electronic catalogs or check account or shipping updates, IBM said. WebSphere Express software runs on a variety of platforms, including Linux and Windows, IBM said.\n\nTo sell its software into the midmarket, IBM came up with the "Express partner pack." Most small and midsized companies don't buy direct, so IBM is providing training, porting assistance and marketing support to its channel partners. Additionally, partners receive five free WebSphere Express licenses to help with customer pilots. Any partner building applications on WebSphere Express can join the pack, IBM said.