Seeking Alpha

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

  • Tue, Nov. 3, 1:48 PM
    • Gravitant provides software that helps enterprises compare and analyze the cloud services offerings of various providers, and subsequently purchase and manage/monitor those services. IBM (IBM +1.6%) has bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • IBM exec Martin Jetter, whose company has been selling enterprises on adopting its SoftLayer, Watson Analytics, and Bluemix cloud platforms (among others): "The reality of enterprise IT is that it is many clouds with many characteristics, whether they be economic, capacity or security. Gravitant provides an innovative approach to add choice and simplicity to how enterprises can now manage their environments." Gravitant will be integrated with IBM's Global Tech Services unit, and also with its SaaS (cloud app) lineup.
    • The purchase follows last week's deal to buy The Weather Company's digital assets (reportedly for $2B+). Other 2015 cloud-related acquisitions include Workday service provider Meteorix and OpenStack managed cloud service provider Blue Box.
    | Tue, Nov. 3, 1:48 PM | 10 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 28, 10:40 AM
    • Confirming yesterday evening's WSJ report, IBM (IBM +2.2%) states it's buying The Weather Company's B2B, mobile, and cloud-based Web properties, including and Weather Underground, Terms are undisclosed; the WSJ reported of a $2B+ purchase price.
    • IBM suggests the value of The Weather Co.'s cloud data platform goes well beyond weather, and will bolster both its Watson Cloud platform and a new Watson IoT unit that will provide A.I.-driven analytics services for data produced by Web-connected embedded devices.
    • IBM: "The Weather Company's cloud-based data platform will allow IBM to collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform ... The Weather Company's mobile and web properties handle seven times the volume of the world's leading search engine, while serving 82 million unique monthly visitors ... [The platform] can ingest a wide range of data at massive speed and scale, supporting an incredible volume of queries at very low latency."
    • At the same time, IBM argues weather-related analytics is a major opportunity by itself, given weather's impact on global GDP. It notes The Weather Co.'s models "analyze data from three billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones, and 50,000 airplane flights per day," helping it service "more than 5,000 clients in the media, aviation, energy, insurance and government industries."
    • In August, IBM struck a $1B deal to buy medical imaging software firm Merge Healthcare, with plans to integrate merge with its new Watson Health unit and deliver image analytics services. An IoT-related analytics partnership was formed with CPU core giant ARM in September.
    • Shares are recovering some of the Tuesday losses seen following an SEC probe disclosure.
    • Update: Forrester's Ted Schadler offers some thoughts on IBM's motivations for making the deal. "[B]usinesses need insights services injected into their real-time processes and applications. TWC gives IBM a hugely valuable and differentiated source of data and insights that it can pre-integrate with other major sources, including Twitter sentiment insights and Box's document market. By pre-integrating these data, building predictive and cognitive models on them, and blending them with your data, IBM is in a position to deliver differentiated insights services."
    | Wed, Oct. 28, 10:40 AM | 30 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 27, 8:28 PM
    • IBM is nearing a deal in excess of $2B to acquire the digital and data assets of The Weather Co., owner of the Weather Channel, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • The company -- owned in part by NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) along with Bain Capital and Blackstone (NYSE:BX) -- started hiring banks to seek a buyer in August for a deal it hoped would hit $3B. The company's digital bits were widely considered to be the most valuable.
    • IBM has a particular interest in the company's forecasting group, WSI, the WSJ says -- a unit that's chock full of tech and weather data that the Weather Co. licenses to various businesses.
    • The deal would reportedly come with Weather Co. CEO David Kenny, who would join IBM.
    • A $2B deal would be a discount over the company's 2008 sale price, valued at $3.5B. IBM shares fell 4.1% today.
    • Previously: IBM eyes digital assets of The Weather Company (Oct. 19 2015)
    • Previously: Weather Channel hires banks to explore sale for up to $3B (Aug. 20 2015)
    | Tue, Oct. 27, 8:28 PM | 51 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 15, 2:52 PM
    • VMware (VMW +0.7%) is buying Boxer, a developer of enterprise e-mail/task management apps for iOS and Android, for an undisclosed sum.
    • Boxer will be integrated with VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobility management platform (EMM - manages devices and apps). VMware exec Noah Wasmer: "The Boxer team ... has developed a mature personal information management (PIM) solution for enterprises that offers a container approach to mobile application management and security. Boxer ... supports market leading productivity, enterprise and social networking solutions including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Gmail ... Imagine, your apps and your data – seamlessly working together with one unified identity and NO logins or configurations – consumer simple, enterprise secure."
    • For its part, EMM rival Microsoft has bought e-mail app developer Accompli (its products now underpin the Outlook mobile apps), calendar app maker Sunrise, and to-do list app maker 6Wunderkinder.
    • Separately, VMware and IBM have announced a partnership to make it easier to move workloads running on VMware's vSphere server virtualization platform to IBM's SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure. VMware's NSX network virtualization/SDN software can be used to enable the global migration of live workloads, and its VSAN storage virtualization software to provide integrated storage management. VMware and IBM have common cloud rivals in Amazon and Microsoft.
    | Thu, Oct. 15, 2:52 PM | 3 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 5, 2:11 PM
    • Acquisition-hungry IBM's (IBM +3.1%) latest target is Cleversafe, a provider of object storage systems and software. As usual, terms are undisclosed.
    • Object storage, widely adopted and supported by cloud service providers (many enterprises also use it), requires less overhead for storing content such as documents, photos, and videos, and thus offers better scalability than traditional file and block-based storage systems; it's also easily accessible via HTTP. On the downside, it's less suitable for databases and other frequently-changing content. Amazon's S3 service (over 2T objects stored) is an example of a popular cloud object storage service.
    • Cleversafe was founded in 2004, and has over 350 patents. Its platform uses proprietary software and algorithms to encrypt, distribute, and retrieve objects stored on commodity hardware, potentially across multiple locations. Clients include photo site Shutterfly and U.K. pay-TV provider Sky. EMC's Atmos object storage business is a rival.
    • IBM's storage hardware revenue fell 10% Y/Y in Q2, and IDC estimates the company's external disk storage share fell to 11.1% from 12.1% a year earlier; both flash/hybrid storage upstarts and contract manufacturers selling to cloud providers have been gaining share. In February, IBM promised to invest over $1B in storage software over the next 5 years.
    • Shares are rallying on a day the Nasdaq is up 1.4%, and the S&P 1.6%.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions
    | Mon, Oct. 5, 2:11 PM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 28, 4:45 PM
    • IBM is buying Meteorix, a provider of consulting and implementation services for companies looking to deploy Workday's cloud HR and financials apps. Terms are undisclosed.
    • "The planned acquisition of Meteorix can make IBM one of the leading, most qualified and experienced Workday service providers in the world," says an IBM exec. Workday, which has been taking share from on-premise software alternatives, has an FY16 (ends in January) revenue consensus of $1.16B, and an FY17 consensus of $1.59B. Its clients include a number of U.S. multinationals. Meteorix has 200+ Workday consultants.
    • Big Blue had 2014 "cloud revenue" of $7B. However, that figure includes sales of hardware, software, and services used to enable cloud deployments, and which often came at the expense of on-premise sales. The company's "cloud delivered as a service" revenue was on a $4.5B/year run rate as of Q2.
    • Recent IBM acquisitions: StrongLoop, Merge Healthcare, Blue Box
    | Mon, Sep. 28, 4:45 PM | 13 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 10, 12:05 PM
    • StrongLoop provides software tools for creating and managing APIs for apps using the open-source and increasingly popular Node.js runtime environment (used to create server-based Web apps written in JavaScript). IBM (IBM +0.7%) is buying the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • Big Blue plans to integrate StrongLoop's products with its WebSphere middleware/app server line, as well as with its Bluemix cloud app development platform. IBM: "Combining StrongLoop's tools and services with IBM's WebSphere and Java capabilities, IBM will help clients bridge Java and Node.js development platforms ... Through integration on IBM Bluemix, these Java and Node.js communities will also have access today to many other IBM and third-party services including access to Mobile Services, data analytics and Watson."
    • Back in March, IBM bought A.I./deep learning API provider AlchemyAPI. The company's middleware revenue (covers the WebSphere, Rational, and Tivoli lines, among other products) fell 7% Y/Y in Q2.
    • Separately, IBM's Watson Health unit (launched in April) has announced partnerships with drugmaker Teva and healthcare R&D outsourcing firm ICON. Both tie-ups involve using the Watson Health Cloud analytics platform to derive insights from large volumes of healthcare-related data.
    • Update: Some more Watson Health news: IBM has named Deborah DiSanzo, formerly the CEO of Philips Healthcare, Watson Health's general manager. Big Blue also says it's opening a Watson Health HQ in Cambridge, MA that will house 700+ employees.
    | Thu, Sep. 10, 12:05 PM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 9:38 AM
    • IBM is buying Merge Healthcare (NASDAQ:MRGE), a top provider of software for managing and processing medical images, for $1B in cash after factoring net debt, or $7.13/share. The price represents a 32% premium to Merge's Wednesday close. The deal is expected to close later this year.
    • Merge's software is said to be "used at more than 7,500 U.S. healthcare sites, as well as most of the world's leading clinical research institutes and pharmaceutical firms." IBM plans to integrate Merge with its recently-launched Watson Health unit, with the goal of providing image analytics that leverage Watson's A.I./deep learning technology.
    • Big Blue: "IBM plans to leverage the Watson Health Cloud to analyze and cross-reference medical images against a deep trove of lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources, already representing 315 billion data points and 90 million unique records.  Merge's clients could compare new medical images with a patient's image history as well as populations of similar patients to detect changes and anomalies."
    • In April, when Watson Health was launched, IBM announced it's buying cloud patient data analysis software firm Phytel and clinical database/healthcare analytics app provider Explorys. The company also announced healthcare-related partnerships with Apple, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson.
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 9:38 AM | 7 Comments
  • Wed, Jul. 1, 10:32 AM
    • Following final approval by U.S. regulators, IBM (IBM +1%) has closed the sale of its money-losing chip manufacturing ops to GlobalFoundries, the world's second-biggest chip foundry (behind TSMC).
    • The deal was originally announced last October. Big Blue is paying GlobalFoundries $1.5B to take its chip manufacturing unit and related obligations off its hands. GlobalFoundries will be IBM's "exclusive semiconductor processor technology provider for the next 10 years."
    • In spite of the sale, IBM is still investing heavily in chip development R&D, with the idea that the designs produced will be manufactured by GlobalFoundries. Areas of interest including Power server CPUs - the CPUs are now being offered to 3rd-party OEMs, and their architecture licensed to 3rd-party chip developers - and futuristic technologies such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and quantum computing.
    | Wed, Jul. 1, 10:32 AM | 4 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 3, 1:26 PM
    • IBM (IBM +0.1%) has acquired Blue Box, a provider of managed cloud services for companies deploying private and hybrid clouds based on the open-source OpenStack cloud infrastructure (IaaS) platform.
    • Cisco (CSCO +0.1%) is buying Piston Cloud Computing, a provider of software (called CloudOS) for managing and deploying services on commodity servers running OpenStack, as well as popular big data/analytics software platforms such as Hadoop and Spark. Terms for both deals are undisclosed.
    • IBM, whose SoftLayer unit already offers OpenStack services, will use Blue Box to "help businesses rapidly integrate their cloud-based applications and on-premises systems into OpenStack-based managed cloud," and that the deal allows it to offer a remotely-managed OpenStack private cloud solution.
    • Cisco asserts Piston and its engineers will "help accelerate the product, delivery, and operational capabilities" of its Intercloud platform, which (via service provider partners) provides a network of OpenStack cloud infrastructures running on Cisco hardware and software, and within which workloads can be moved between data centers. It also expects Piston to strengthen its OpenStack private cloud offering, the fruits of last year's acquisition of private cloud services provider Metacloud.
    • IBM ended Q1 on a $3.8B/year run rate for its various "cloud delivered as a service" offerings. Synergy Research believes IBM is the third-largest player in the public/private/hybrid cloud services space, trailing Amazon (easily the market leader) and Microsoft.
    • Many tech/telecom giants have embraced OpenStack in their efforts to compete against Amazon, Microsoft, and Google's proprietary platforms. Rackspace (RAX +0.7%) remains a top independent OpenStack provider
    | Wed, Jun. 3, 1:26 PM | 4 Comments
  • Fri, May 8, 4:35 PM
    • Tangoe (NASDAQ:TNGO) sold off today after slightly missing Q1 revenue estimates (while posting in-line EPS) and offering mixed guidance.
    • The company has also announced it's buying IBM's Emptoris Rivermine telecom expense management (TEM) software business for an undisclosed sum. Tangoe declares Emptoris has a "global blue chip customer base," and complements its Matrix suite of cloud telecom asset/expense management apps. The deal is expected to close at month's end.
    • Q2 guidance is for revenue of $56.5M-$57.5M and EPS of $0.18-$0.19 vs. a consensus of $58.4M and $0.19. Full-year guidance is for revenue of $245M-$250M and EPS of $0.73-$0.78 vs. a consensus of $239.7M and $0.79. Emptoris (naturally isn't factored into estimates) is expected to boost Q2 and full-year revenue by $1M and $10M, and hurt EPS by $0.01 and $0.04.
    • Tangoe blames the Q1 sales miss on "quarter-to-quarter variability of non-recurring revenue," while insisting it's "the less strategic component of our business."
    • Q1 results, PR
    | Fri, May 8, 4:35 PM | Comment!
  • Mon, Apr. 13, 6:29 PM
    • Looking to grab a bigger chunk of a burgeoning healthcare analytics market by offering more industry-specific solutions, IBM is buying Phytel, a provider of cloud-based patient data aggregation/analysis software, and Explorys, provider of a massive clinical database (said to consist of 315B datapoints) and a slew of analytics apps that run on top of them. Terms are undisclosed.
    • IBM declares Phytel will help it give healthcare providers "insights into patient health from data about patient behaviors and their engagement with care plans," and that Explorys will "accelerate the delivery of IBM Health Cloud and IBM Watson cognitive solutions to model and apply medical evidence and large scale analytics to data."
    • Both companies are being added to a new Watson Health unit based out of Boston. The business aims to provide software/services that can surface insights from large volumes of anonymous personal health data. As part of the effort, Big Blue is launching Watson Health Cloud, a platform that allows this data to be "anonymized, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly-growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data."
    • IBM's partnership with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been expanded to cover Apple's HealthKit (health/fitness data) and ResearchKit (medical research) frameworks, via Watson and Health Cloud. The latter will provide a data storage/aggregation platform for iOS apps using HealthKit and ResearchKit. In addition, IBM will "build a suite of enterprise wellness apps using HealthKit."
    • Also: 1) IBM is partnering with Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) to create diabetes management solutions that pair Medtronic's devices (and the data they produce) with IBM's analytics and cognitive computing tools. 2) IBM is partnering with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to "create intelligent coaching systems centered on preoperative and postoperative patient care, including joint replacement and spinal surgery."
    | Mon, Apr. 13, 6:29 PM | 22 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 4, 9:29 AM
    • IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI, a provider of software APIs for companies looking to add A.I./deep learning capabilities to their apps. Terms are undisclosed.
    • AIchemy offers both cloud-based and on-premise versions of its API offerings, which cover image and text analysis tools. The company asserts its platform "makes it easy to create smart apps that deeply understand the world's conversations, reports and photos."
    • IBM plans to integrate Alchemy's deep learning tech with its Watson A.I. hardware/software platform, declaring it will strengthen "Watson's ability to quickly identify hierarchies and understand relationships within large volume data sets." Big Blue also states the deal will "greatly expand the number and types of scalable cognitive computing APIs" available to clients, developers, and partners.
    • The IT giant stated last year it wants Watson to produce $10B in revenue within 10 years - all signs suggest it has a ways to go. IBM rolled out the cloud-based Watson Analytics service last year to good reviews, as well as a cloud app development platform (Bluemix) that supports Watson services and APIs. It also bought a virtual assistant startup (Cognea) to help Watson deliver "conversational services."
    | Wed, Mar. 4, 9:29 AM | 3 Comments
  • Sun, Jan. 18, 12:57 PM
    • TechCrunch reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is interested in acquiring Softcard, the mobile payments platform launched by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in 2010 - it was previously known as Isis, before changing its name for obvious reasons. Though Softcard's owners have invested hundreds of millions in the venture, sources state Google's purchase price could be below $100M.
    • Like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Softcard relies on NFC radios to enable transactions. And like Wallet, it has struggled to get off the ground, as U.S. consumers overwhelmingly stick with card swipes. Hard data on Apple Pay usage remains limited for now.
    • Softcard recently laid off 60 employees. Meanwhile, it was reported in 2013 that Google had spent $300M on Wallet-related acquisitions, with little to show for it. The adoption of EMV (chip-and-PIN) readers by U.S. retailers could give NFC solutions a boost, by making card payments a little less convenient.
    • The WSJ reports Google is partnering with consulting giant PwC to bid on a $2B+ contract to update the DoD's electronic health records system. PwC says Google's tools could both improve the system's security and performance, and lower costs. A group featuring IBM, HP (NYSE:HPQ), and CSC has made a rival bid.
    • Ad tech firm Marin Software (NYSE:MRIN) provides some encouraging mobile search data ahead of Google's Jan. 29 Q4 report. A Marin study found mobile accounted for 49% of Q4 U.S. search ad spend, up from 42% in Q3, and that smartphone ad click rates were 38% higher than PC rates (thanks in part to accidental clicks?). On the other hand, mobile still only accounted for 32% of conversions.
    • Medium writer Backchannel provides a deep dive into Google Search's evolution in an  era where users increasingly want search engines to know the precise meaning of their queries. Part 1 looks at Google's efforts to optimize for mobile (aided by its Knowledge Graph and Google Now). Part 2 looks at Google's real-world research into the information needs of users. Part 3 looks at Google's investments in A.I./deep learning to deliver far more intelligent search results and spontaneously surface useful information.
    | Sun, Jan. 18, 12:57 PM | 5 Comments
  • Oct. 22, 2014, 4:15 AM
    • Lufthansa (OTCQX:DLAKY) is close to selling its IT infrastructure unit to IBM (NYSE:IBM), including an outsourcing agreement for the services, as part of a restructuring to better position itself to compete with low-cost carriers and Gulf rivals.
    • The move will reduce Lufthansa's annual IT costs by around €70M a year, but will result in a €240M ($305.2M) charge this year.
    • Under the planned deal, Lufthansa will outsource all of its IT infrastructure services to IBM under a seven-year agreement. A final price for the sale is still being negotiated.
    | Oct. 22, 2014, 4:15 AM | 2 Comments
  • Oct. 20, 2014, 1:40 AM
    | Oct. 20, 2014, 1:40 AM | 7 Comments
Company Description
International Business Machines Corp is an Information Technology (IT) company. It creates business value for clients and solves business problems through integrated solutions that leverage information technology & knowledge of business processes.