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IBM Buys Informix DB Business

The consolidation of the database and data warehousing industry intensified Tuesday as IBM Corp. moved to swallow up Informix' once mighty database business.

IBM entered an agreement to acquire the assets of Informix Software in a $1 billion cash transaction.

The move buys IBM a company highly regarded for its technology but frequently panned for its lack of marketing savvy.

IBM's release stated flatly that the IBM DB2 Universal Database will remain IBM's flagship database product. IBM will integrate Informix technology into future versions of DB2.

Meanwhile, IBM committed to market and sell Informix database products worldwide and to support and update current Informix products.

Mike Schiff, vice president of e-business and business intelligence at Current Analysis, says the deal was not all about acquiring the technology for IBM.

The database market share IBM gains through the Informix customer base and that customer base's potential as revenue for IBM's global services could be the real targets, he says.

IBM numbered the Informix customer base at 100,000 in the acquisition announcement.

"The question is how many of them can they convert and retain in the meantime?" Schiff asks.

There's a good possibility that IBM's database competitors in Oracle, Microsoft, NCR and Sybase will rush to those customers with Informix database migration programs, Schiff says.

Informix Corp. will now focus on its other independent operating business, Ascential Software. IBM and Informix Corp. also entered an agreement Tuesday to jointly develop and market information asset management solutions based on Ascential's DataStage, DataStage 390 and Media360 products and IBM's DB2.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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