IBM expands its software portfolio

With an aggressive strategy to expand its software portfolio and plenty of cash to spare, IBM bought its way into several vertical markets in 2004.

Here is a rundown of IBM's major acquisitions in 2004:

Trigo Technologies

In March, IBM acquired privately held Trigo Technologies Inc. , a supplier of data synchronization software that is used to streamline supply-chain operations. This purchase fills a gap in Big Blue's ever-expanding middleware portfolio. More importantly, this buy went a long way into proving IBM's commitment to href="http://search400.techtarget.com/news/939421/IBM-to-reorganize-software-operations"> vertical growth markets UCCnet and RFID. It also means better solutions for thousands of iSeries shops wading through UCCnet FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

Candle Corp.

Considered one of 2004's most significant moves, IBM in April purchased Candle Corp., a privately held company that specializes in data center management software.

This move rounded out IBM's products portfolio, which helps users manage on-demand operating environments and complements IBM's middleware solutions. Highly regarded among the mainframe community, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company brought more than 3,000 customers worldwide to the table, most of them running on the mainframe platform. An IBM partner since 1976, Candle has infrastructure management solutions that cover a wide range of hardware and software, including IBM's DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and WebSphere software, as well as the zSeries, Linux, Unix and Windows platforms. Candle is now part of IBM's Tivoli brand of products.

Mapics

IBM and supply chain vendor Mapics expanded their relationship in July to target small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with products designed specifically to support the iSeries. Although a long-time IBM partner, the Georgia-based Mapics is new to the iSeries market. While the alliance provides a new set of enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain capabilities to iSeries customers, it's another notch in IBM's belt, as it continues to push forward with its SMB offerings to undercut Microsoft's market share.

Alphablox

IBM also acquired in July, Alphablox, whose software enables users to embed analytics -- such as customer buying trends -- into existing business processes, and makes information available for easy, logical viewing. By acquiring Alphablox technology, IBM will be able to fill a gap in its data management offerings -- a front-end dashboard. The move further strengthens IBM's position in the business intelligence market, a key strategic priority for its data management efforts and its on-demand computing initiatives.

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