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, 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
Thu, Sep. 10, 12:05 PM
- 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, 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.
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, 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
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
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."
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."
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.
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. 20, 2014, 1:40 AM
- IBM (NYSE:IBM) has reached an agreement with Globalfoundries to take over its loss-making semiconductor unit, WSJ reports.
- Under the terms of the deal, IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5B to take the chip operations off its hands, a source says.
- IBM is scheduled to report Q3 earnings premarket.
- Previously: IBM to make 'major announcement,' release earnings Monday morning
Sep. 29, 2014, 2:00 AM
- Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGY) will complete its $2.1B acquisition of IBM's (NYSE:IBM) x86 server unit on Oct. 1, giving China's biggest personal computer maker a major asset to expand its business client offerings.
- The closing purchase price is lower than the $2.3B valuation announced in January because of a change in the valuation of inventory and deferred revenue liability, says Lenovo.
Aug. 15, 2014, 4:20 PM
- The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has signed off on the $2.3B sale of IBM's x86 server unit to Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGY).
- The deal had been closely scrutinized due to the division's sales to U.S. government clients, sales which have included a decent number of supercomputer deals. IBM has tried to soothe concerns in part by promising it would continue handling maintenance work on Lenovo's behalf "for an extended period."
- Chinese regulators cleared the deal in July. Ahead of the sale, IBM's x86 server revenue fell 3% Y/Y in Q2, a much smaller decline than Q1's 18%.
Aug. 11, 2014, 11:44 AM
- IBM (IBM +0.7%) has bought Lighthouse Security, a provider of identity/access management software that sets permissions for cloud-based apps, for an undisclosed sum.
- News of the purchase comes two weeks after Big Blue disclosed it's buying CrossIdeas, an Italian identity/access software firm. Whereas CrossIdeas (with the help of an analytics platform) is used to control employee access to a company's internal apps and data, Lighthouse specializes in controlling employee and 3rd-party access to cloud apps, including ones not controlled by the company.
- "If you are on Facebook and LinkedIn and are a customer in my directory, I need to figure out who you are and interact with you in a seamless way," says IBM exec Kris Lovejoy, describing a use case for Lighthouse's software. Lighthouse's products (like CrossIdeas') will be integrated with IBM's existing identity/access management offerings.
Aug. 4, 2014, 6:58 PM
- Bloomberg reports IBM offered Globalfoundries $1B in cash to take the company's struggling chip manufacturing unit off its hands, and that Globalfoundries insisted on getting $2B.
- At issue: The unit is reportedly responsible for up to $1.5B/year in losses to go with its employee obligations, and Globalfoundries is said to assign little value to IBM's fabs. Rather, it's Big Blue's chip engineers and IP that mostly interest the foundry.
- Bloomberg previously reported IBM's talks with Globalfoundries broke down over price, but didn't state Globalfoundries was looking to be paid for making the acquisition. It added IBM was interested in a JV agreement that would allow it to retain control of chip design and IP development.
- Analyst Jim McGregor thinks a deal might still happen. "The first rule of negotiating anything is you need to be able to walk away from a deal ... This might just be posturing. You may see this resurrect itself in three to six months."
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