IBM plans US$125m investment in mobile

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IBM plans US$125m investment in mobile

Big Blue bets big on future of communication.

IBM has announced plans to invest US$100m ($125m) in mobile technology and services over the next five years.

The company intends to develop mobile technology that allows people to access the internet and manage business transactions as easily as they do on a personal computer.

One particular strategy is to automate devices with GPS location technology and calendar integration to enable on-the-go staff to access and manage relevant business applications regardless of their whereabouts and availability.

IBM claimed that this will save enterprises having to disseminate information to thousands of staff handsets.

"With high penetration, simple user interfaces and significant cost advantages for end users, mobile telephony holds the future of communication and the exchange of information for the enterprise," said Guruduth Banavar, mobile communications research director at IBM, in a statement.

The company is targeting the mobile market because it expects growth to be large.

IBM's Institute for Business Value believes that the number of mobile users worldwide will have grown by 191 per cent from 2006 to 2011 to reach approximately one billion.

The firm will also use its credibility with enterprises to push forward the mobile platforms.

IBM reported earnings of US$2.3bn in the first quarter of 2009, a one per cent decrease on the same period last year, which it said was due to a long-term strategic focus on software and services.

Many of the firm's competitors, meanwhile, have announced large-scale losses.

The mobile strategy will particularly target emerging markets, which have accounted for a four per cent revenue growth for IBM since last year.

"For the 83 per cent of the world that does not have easy access to the web via PCs, IBM is helping mobile phone users become more productive," said a company statement.

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