IBM has snapped up Internet solutions company, Whistle Communications to beef up its ecommerce arsenal.
Big Blue would not reveal how much it is paying for the Silicon Valley startup, which had been considering an IPO and had recently raised more than $30 million in venture capital.
Whistle's technology, Interjet, is a turnkey solution targeted at small businesses from five to 100 people. The all in one hardware and software product offers email, Web access and Web publishing productivity, all through a single Internet connection.
On announcing the acquisition IBM said it would enhance Interjet with a range of applications, services and financing options to enable small companies to become ebusinesses.
According to analysts, the small business market is growing at about 15 per cent a year, with Web adoption expected to double by 2001, more than a big enough pie to attract the likes of IBM.
"We needed to begin with a simple offering," said Peter Rowley, general manager of global small business for IBM.
IBM said it hopes to quickly ramp up the worldwide distribution of the Interjet product.
According to Whistle, one of the reasons that the founders decided to sell out to IBM rather than go for an IPO was that they could never have the resources to move as quickly as IBM.
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