IBM is very likely to buy Olap technology partner, Arbor Software. The giant would be foolish not to buy, according to Howard Dresdner, vice president and research director at Gartner Group.
Although rumours about an acquisition have been circulating in the market for some time, both parties have so far hotly denied the proposition, even after signing a joint technology and sales deal a couple of months ago.
But, at the Business Intelligence 1997 show in London this week, Dresdner said: ?I predict that IBM will acquire Arbor over time. It got past the first hurdle when it signed the technology deal and money changed hands. If the DB2 Olap product sells well, I expect IBM will have to acquire it to protect the technology. In fact, IBM would be foolish not to buy it.?
He added that he expected IBM would need to rationalise its Olap (online analytical processing) offerings if the Arbor product took off, however, because it would have too many products and would end up confusing customers and its salesforce.
Big Blue?s Intelligent Decision Server executive information system would be the most likely one to go, he predicted, due to lack of salesforce interest because it was a complex sell.
David Topping, IBM?s database marketing manager, said: ?I know of no plans to buy Arbor, and the question is, does Arbor want to be bought? If Dresdner means by his comments that we?d need to buy it to ensure it doesn?t disappear that?s okay, but if it?s to ensure it only produces a product that runs against DB2, then it isn?t. The DB2 version is due this November, but it?ll run against other databases such as Oracle by the middle of next year.?
He added that IBM would not need to rationalise its Olap product line because it now had its own specialised sales force that had been beefed up to understand the relationship between the different products and Lotus? Domino, which could be used as a means for publishing information.
Arbor was unavailable for comment.
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