IBM Acquires Unica

While much of the mainstream press is focused on the recent scandals atHP concerning their former CEO Mark Hurd, IBM has quietly purchased enterprise marketing software company Unica for a reported $480M. This follows IBM's recent acquisition of Web analytics provider Coremetrics, signaling Big Blue's continued interest in consolidating and strengthening their already solid position in the Web services sphere. IBM's immediate plans for Unica aren't entirely clear at this point. But the merger will allow the venerable technology firm the ability to offer even more focused and effective marketing campaigns and services to a variety of clients in all spheres of commerce.

Specifically, IBM is spending $21 per share to take control of Unica and their high-profile list of marketing clients which includes names like Best Buy, eBay and US Cellular. IBM hopes to use leverage Unica's resources and existing customer relationships to provide cutting-edge CRM applications and services. The two companies have worked together in the past, so the IBM brass are well aware of how effective Unica's software solutions can be. All in all, the merger makes sense for both parties. Unica gets more than a fair price for the sale, and IBM gets control of innovative software tools like Unica's NetInsight, amongst others.

IBM already boasts the impressive WebSphere Commerce platform, which will only be strengthened by their recent acquisitions of Unica and similar software concerns. In addition, IBM plans on shelling out over $20 Billion by 2015 to snatch other software providers in the Web Services industry. One concern voiced by many industry analysts, however, is that IBM will lose out on the business of many smaller companies who won't be able to afford expensive marketing software from the likes of Unica and their ilk. Lower-level firms will no doubt opt for cheap or even free open-source marketing solutions.

Founded in 1992, Unica has since become the most recognized name in marketing automation software for multinational corporations who rely heavily on the web for raising revenue and brand awareness. With headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, they maintain additional branch offices in over half a dozen countries around the globe. Possibly the most lucrative and forward-thinking segment of Unica's business is their Interactive Marketing OnDemand. Unica's services allow businesses the ability to hone their advertising efforts to specific segments of their consumer base to obtain the maximum return on investment for their efforts.

When it comes to providing the full range of Web Services, from Data Center infrastructure and management to online marketing, IBM appears to be well positioned to increase their already substantial market share in the coming years. Their acquisition of other companies such as Cast Iron Systems, a well-respected data integration provider, is part of a complete long-term strategy of dominating what many see as the future of E-commerce. Increasingly, the field of online business will rely on accurate feedback and data analysis, as well as well-crafted marketing campaigns aimed as specific niche demographics. Having access to the expertise and knowledge of innovators like Unica can only help IBM succeed in the cutthroat arena of online marketing.