IBM buys Sydney developer

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IBM has bought out Sydney developer Presence Online, trading as Aptrix, for an undisclosed sum, enabling Big Blue to offer Web content management software integrating Lotus, DB2 and WebSphere functionality.

Michael Loria, a US-based director of IBM Lotus Software, said the new Aptrix-based software--re-branded as Lotus Workplace Content Developer--was “one step back” from offering a genuine e-business on-demand-focused product.

“If you think about Aptrix, it's two product lines--Lotus Domino and Java--combining that technology into a single offering for the marketplace. The most loyal IBM customers are those that have our DB2 [Content Manager], our WebSphere Portal and our Lotus Domino technologies,” he said.

Richard Osborne, executive chairman at Aptrix, said the company had been working closely with IBM for some years. All 40 staff, mainly technicians and developers based in Sydney with support staff in the company's two other offices in the UK and US, would be integrated with IBM Software's Lotus business unit.

“IBM's intention is to retain the vast majority of staff here,” Osborne said. “Aptrix solutions were built to complement IBM software and our joint offerings have delivered value to our mutual customers over the past few years.”

Osborne would not be drawn on the financial arrangements of the deal, but added that “the shareholders have obviously achieved a result that they are very satisfied with”.

Meanwhile, IBM acquires Aptrix' expertise, engineers and technologies to add to its extensive empire. Lotus Workplace Content Developer is a tool for creating, publishing, managing and archiving Web-based content within corporate intranet, extranet and Internet environments, the company said.

IBM Software has acquired 10 other IT companies in the past 18 months, with a view to ramping up its integrated offerings as part of Big Blue's overall on-demand computing strategy.

Loria said the acquisitions were driving the integration of many different technologies and platforms, using enterprise-wide applications in particular. “We fundamentally believe that these types of application services are key, with collaboration and portal applications."

On-demand, for IBM, is a broad-based strategy focusing on closely matching and tailoring delivery of computing resources to businesses in ways that closely mirror the constant fluctuations in demand for those resources, he said.

“It's much broader than people think,” Loria said.

Lotus is expected to expand its, largely SMB-focused, messaging and collaboration-focused software portfolio over the next year.

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