IBM’s Software Acquisition Strategy in Massachusetts (Plus Tips on Getting Acquired) From VP Mike Loria

9/20/10Follow @gthuang

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partnership, Loria adds. They don’t understand “what a long haul it is to go from that conversation to ‘We’ll buy you,’” he says.

So, of course, I had to ask which current partnerships in Massachusetts are doing well for IBM, to see if I could predict the next acquisition. Loria declined to comment, naturally, but he talked in general about the things the company is excited about.

“If you take the ‘smarter planet’ story that IBM has, that has opened the aperture of the business significantly,” he says. “It’s one thing if you point [business analytics] engines at financial services. But start pointing it at traffic data, start thinking about redesigning highways, and wind farms to best generate energy. Start rethinking smart levies, water systems, power systems…A lot of interesting companies are out there in smart traffic, water flow. On the Rational [software] side, if you’ve bought a car recently, it’s a mini data center going down the road…That has blown up the size of the market we address tremendously.”

That makes it sound like IBM and Detroit—or at least automotive software startups—might be doing more business in the near future. Closer to home, a quick search for IBM partners in Massachusetts reveals at least 63 tech companies (surely there are many more), including Agility Partners, Aternity, Black Duck Software, Certeon, Data Intensity, Entuity, Permessa, Pirean, Progress Software, Rocket Software, Sophos, TriTek Solutions, and Virtusa.

Would Loria tip his hand about his next deal? “Culturally, we’re very acquisition friendly,” is all he would say.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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