All quiet on the Eastern front

Contact: Ben Kolada

In contrast to the surge in deal flow that we’ve seen so far this year, IT giant IBM has been extremely muted. So far this year the Armonk, New York-based company has announced only one deal – the pickup of real estate and facilities management vendor Tririga in March for an undisclosed amount. In comparison, last year Big Blue announced 15 transactions worth more than $5bn. But that’s not to say that the company hasn’t been looking for new properties, and likely would have inked a couple of extra deals had it not been for Oracle’s meddling. In fact, Oracle’s most recent move could motivate IBM to announce a transaction of its own soon.

We’ve written in the past that IBM may have looked at Datanomic, which Oracle quietly picked up April. We considered Datanomic a nice complement to the business Big Blue got when it bought Initiate Systems in early 2010. (Initiate had an OEM arrangement with Datanomic.) More recently, though, the company was once again thwarted by Oracle in the Web content management (WCM) sector. Oracle announced yesterday that it is acquiring WCM vendor FatWire Software, and we see IBM as the potential loser here. Big Blue could use a stronger WCM component, as it is also positioning for Web experience management, and we hypothesized recently that FatWire could possibly fill this gap. However, there are a few alternatives left for IBM. For instance, the company could make a play for CoreMedia, which is the only other WCM independent with a Java-based offering that competes at the high end.