IBM Buys Emptoris for Contract Managment, Supply Software

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IBM has signed a deal to buy supply and contract management software vendor Emptoris in another bid to fill out its growing catalog of business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce technologies, the company announced Thursday. Terms of the deal, which is scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year, were not provided.

The move closely follows IBM's US$440 million purchase last week of DemandTec, maker of analytics software that retailers use to fine-tune their product offerings and pricing strategies.

Emptoris has about 725 employees and 350 customers, including ADP, Kraft and American Express. In recent years, the company suffered a US$7 million judgment against it in connection with a patent case filed by its competitor, Ariba.

IBM's move to buy Emptoris comes shortly after the launch of a new version of the smaller company's product suite, which it dubbed a "strategic supply management platform for the future."

Features include an overhauled user experience, including support for many browsers, the iPad and integration with Microsoft Office; a program management module; a global repository for data regarding suppliers; and BI (business intelligence) functionality based on SAP's Business Objects software. It's not clear whether IBM will look to swap out the last feature with its own Cognos BI platform.

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