In a surprise alliance, arch-rivals IBM Global Services and EDS have announced one of the largest ever software partnerships.
The deal, dubbed the largest in the history of the software industry, will give EDS far greater access to IBM products for its integration deals and, it claims, will enable it to streamline software costs.
?This is certainly an interesting and somewhat surprising announcement,? said Mirko Lukacs, research analyst with IDC Benelux. ?IBM Global Services is a global player in outsourcing, and EDS is the world market leader in that field. They very much regard each other as competitors in this area.?
Reacting to the suggestion that the deal will allow IBM greater access to the IT services sector through cooperation, an EDS spokesperson said: ?This is part of an ongoing deal. We are a global company, IBM is a global company, so it makes sense to formalise the relationship.?
Patricia Cicala, Gartner Group analyst, believes the deal has been in the pipeline for some time. "We are beginning to see the main vendors affiliate in order to protect global market share. It also secures additional revenue for IBM," she said.
A spokesperson for IBM also noted that the two companies have been closely related for a number of years. ?IBM will package software in a way that will be beneficial to EDS, IBM and EDS? customers,? she added.
The agreement will allow EDS access to virtually all of IBM?s software portfolio over five years, including groupware, systems management and data management products. It will be able to resell these to clients as part of its integration deals.
Meanwhile, IBM Research has also announced a wide ranging technology alliance with US life sciences company Monsanto, which includes a further software deal and an outsourcing agreement.
Scientists from the two companies will work together to develop and apply advanced software, which will identify and map the genetic structure of plant groups and human diseases, with the aim of speeding the discovery of DNA patterns.
?This collaboration with IBM will add significant new technology tools to our expanding genomics capabilities. We expect to make discoveries that wouldn?t be possible using existing analytical tools,? a Monsanto spokesperson said.
IBM Global Services will also take over much of Monsanto?s general IT operation, in a 10-year outsourcing agreement, freeing up Monsanto?s IT staff to work on functions specific to the company. IBM will take over data centre management, helpdesk operations and support for 8,000 desktop systems, including Lan and Wan management.
?The other components of this alliance bring together powerful and complementary IT skills that will allow us to more efficiently and effectively deliver value to our customers,? said Patrick Fortune, chief information officer for Monsanto.
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