IBM has admitted that its acquisition of integration software vendor CrossWorlds will involve subsuming the brand name into its own WebSphere ebusiness portfolio.
The infrastructure software and services giant last week announced its intention to acquire CrossWorlds in a $129m (£88m) cash transaction.
CrossWorlds supplies software which enables companies to automate business processes that integrate multiple applications such as customer relationship management and supply chain management. The firm, which operates on a direct sales basis, currently has 350 staff.
Tony Occleshaw, head of communications for Europe, Middle East & Africa at Big Blue, said the deal, which is still awaiting CrossWorlds shareholders' approval, will enhance IBM's WebSphere offering to the channel.
"We have been working with CrossWorlds for the past four years. The firm's technology has been integrated with WebSphere middleware products, which means that the hardest work in any acquisition, the technology integration, has already been done," he said. "By completing this deal we are acquiring some exciting technology that will improve our WebSphere offerings."
Occleshaw added that there are only two or three large players in the middleware market, with a couple of hundred small niche specialists.
"There is not enough room in the industry for all the niche players. The best way for them to survive is to work with the larger players," he explained. "This deal will definitely be positive for the market and for our channel partners."
Occleshaw said it was too early to say whether any jobs would be lost as a result of the CrossWorlds deal. However, he claimed that IBM is to increase its skills base using CrossWorlds employees because of the "enormous" shortage of software and infrastructure development skills in the IT industry.
A CrossWorlds representative said that, although the company name will cease to exist, the firm was "enthusiastic" about the deal because IBM is such a strong force in the industry.
"We know IBM is going to be around in the future, and our software will therefore continue to be developed," the representative said.
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